January 16, 2017

Positivity: Martin Luther King

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

Related“How MLK’s Faith Influenced His Public Life.”

Also: Dr. Ben Carson’s 2014 tweet“As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let us pay more attention to the content of one’s character than the color of one’s skin.”

From the Nobel Peace Prize’s biography:

Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family’s long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then until the present, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family.

In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. He was ready, then, early in December, 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, “l Have a Dream”, he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated.

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January 15, 2017

What He Said … And Showed

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:29 pm

ObamaFarewellFacts0117

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Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011517)

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: ‘They are the Church’ — Nearly 13,000 college students attend SEEK 2017

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From San Antonio, Texas:

Jan 9, 2017 / 03:27 pm

It’s not every day that 13,000 college students come together to pray, participate in the sacraments, and learn more about their faith.

But that’s exactly what happened last week, as students from more than 500 colleges across the country and around the world traveled to San Antonio, Texas for the SEEK 2017 conference.

Presented by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), the Jan. 3-7 conference gave young people the opportunity for fellowship, worship and talks by international Catholic speakers.

“It’s kind of encouraging to see that there’s people trying just like you are,” said Cynthia Lopez, a sophomore at Northern Arizona University.

Lopez told CNA that she was not initially going to attend the conference. She signed up for the biennial event on the last day of registration because her campus’ FOCUS Missionary invited her.

“Sometimes you do feel like you’re alone in the world,” Lopez said, “like you’re the only college student trying to be holy, but it’s like no you aren’t, look around you.”

“It’s hard to be holy and saintly at a secular university,” she said. The SEEK 2017 conference, she added, taught her to build up a support system.

Melissa Golus, a senior at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas said SEEK 2017 is “giving you the tools that you need to know in order to go back to your college, even if you’re the only one at your campus that has that faith, it’s okay. It’s okay for you to go out and maybe invite other people to join you.”

In response to being surrounded with so many other young people, Golus said, “It’s amazing.”

“You don’t see that kind of thing in this world, like, this is the kind of stuff that’s put on the hush hush because it’s amazing to see this many people that passionate about God.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 14, 2017

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011417)

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: Local FLL shooting survivor says good Samaritan saved her life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

January 7, 2017

A South Florida teacher said a complete stranger shielded her from gunfire during Friday’s deadly shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Elementary school art teacher Annika Dean told 7News she was waiting for her luggage when she heard gunfire. “I heard gunshots. I recognized it immediately as gunshots,” she said.

Chaos erupted around Dean, who had just returned from a trip to Atlanta. “I looked for a place to hide. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t a place to hide,” she said.

Dean then spotted the suspected shooter, identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, walking in her direction, shooting people as he made his way toward her.

The Broward County schoolteacher saw a SmartCart, and she ran toward it. “I went on the other side of that, and I lay down,” she said.

Lying on the floor, however, obstructed her view of the gunman, so she had no idea where he was. “When I was lying down, I wasn’t looking anymore. I was just looking at the carpet, and I was just praying to God that her children would have a mother,” she said.

Dean was referring to her two sons, ages 13 and 11.

As the sound of gunfire continued, Dean realized she might not make it out alive. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to live or die,” she said.

But then, a good Samaritan approached her. “A man basically climbed on top of me and told me, ‘I will protect you,’” said Dean. “He brought me comfort during the most terrifying experience in my life.”

Dean remained quiet along with her protector. The gunman fired over them, but neither was hit.

RELATED: Airport shooting witness says laptop in backpack stopped bullet
She later learned the good Samaritan was 70-year-old Anthony Bartosiewicz, a retired electrician from Rochester, N.Y.

The grateful mother said the white-haired stranger’s actions strengthened her faith in people. “He’s just a hero,” said Dean. “He just wanted to protect me.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 13, 2017

Deficits Matter Again at the AP, and to Paul Krugman

There are predictable signs that after eight years of giving the problem inadequate attention and occasional ridicule, the business press has decided that federal budget deficits and the national debt are going to start to matter again. Gosh, I wonder why?

(more…)

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011317)

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: Singer Donates Kidney to Venue Owner Who Gave His Band a Chance

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

From Provo, Utah:

January 7, 2017

Corey Fox has had a hand in the flourishing of several popular indie bands – and now he’s been thanked with a much-needed kidney.

Fox, owner of the Velour Live Music Club in Provo, Utah, helped groups like Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons get their start in the industry. Fox has also suffered from chronic kidney disease since he was 15. Nine months ago, he published a statement about his condition and a plea for a kidney donor.

In gratitude for his service, an organ was offered to him by none other than Brandon Robbins – the lead singer and guitarist of The Moth & The Flame, an indie rock group that Fox mentored in its infancy.

“Corey has created a music scene in a town most people have never heard of. He developed a kinship between all the bands,” wrote the band’s keyboardist Mark Garbett. “He is the friend and mentor to all of us. Corey and Brandon were especially close. They hung out together all the time and became two of each other’s closest friends.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 12, 2017

American Univ. Prof: ‘Russian Meddling’ Shows ‘There Must Be a New Election’

Here we go again. A month ago, Robert Baer, a leading coddler of Iran who is an “Intelligence and Security Analyst” while pontificating at CNN, contended that alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election meant that the nation needs “to vote again.” Now The Hill has given space to Chris Edelson, an assistant professor of government in American University’s School of Public Affairs, to advocate the same thing (“Remedy for Russian meddling should be new election”).

(more…)

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Oregonian Columnist Hypes Bogus Study Claiming Racism, Sexism Motivated Trump Voters

In a January 5 column at the Oregonian, Douglas Perry promoted a study which claims to support the leftist meme that Donald Trump won the presidential election based on racial bigotry and sexism.

It seems likely that the study to which Perry referred will become a frequent reference point for the left, so its fatal flaws need to be addressed. That’s especially true because Vox.com founder Ezra Klein hysterically contends that the the study’s evidence is so compelling, and that “The numbers here are impossible to read any other way.”

(more…)

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Initial Unemployment Claims: 247K SA, Up From 237K in Previous Week; Raw Claims (410K) 15 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year (Plus: A Look at ‘Covered Employment’ During the Obama Era)

Following Trump Derangement Syndrome has distracted yours truly from blogging on the economy as much as usual for some time. Hopefully this post marks a bit of a return to that.

Initial unemployment claims have remained historically low since the election. This may be contrarian, but I believe that’s because of the ossification of the labor force and the presence of more jobs for which people can’t collect benefits if they’re let go. More on that in a bit, including perhaps an inkling of a turnaround in that evaluation.

But first, today’s report from the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending January 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 247,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 235,000 to 237,000. The 4-week moving average was 256,500, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,500 from 256,750 to 258,250.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 409,869 in the week ending January 7, an increase of 59,308 (or 16.9 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 42,665 (or 12.2 percent) from the previous week. There were 502,904 initial claims in the comparable week in 2016.

The large year-over-year drop in actual layoffs in this particular week is interesting, in that it may foretell a very good January jobs report when it’s released in early February.

That’s because January is a month with huge actual job losses (routinely over 2.5 million every year, sometimes much higher). If this historically low number of actual layoffs continues, it could translate into a very high reported figure for seasonally adjusted jobs added in January’s jobs report. Low January let-go’s would be good news for the economy, because it would indicate that employers have decided to hang on to more of the people they hired during the Christmas season than usual. We’ll see.

Now let’s look at covered employment compared to total employment:

  • In late 2008, covered employment peaked at 133.902 million.
  • That figure hit a trough of 125.560 milion during the first quarter of 2011, and barely budged during the next quarter to 125.572 million.
  • After that, the figure increased by an average of 369,000 during the next four quarters (thru Q2 2012). This is important to note, because the economy as whole was adding a far higher average of payroll jobs, meaning that it was adding a much lower than usual percentage of jobs covered by unemployment insurance.
  • During the next three years, increases in covered employment roughly matched increases in payroll employment (thru 1Q 2015).
  • Covered employment increases have exceeded payroll employment since then by about a half-million.

When all is said and done, covered employment at the end of 2008 (using employment data as of the end of the previous quarter, i.e., 3Q08) was 97.9 percent of payroll employment (the numbers: 133.902 million divided by 136.781 million).

At the end of 2016, the comparable figure (referencing 3Q16 payroll employment) was 95.5 percent (the numbers: 138.322 million divided by 144.808 million).

In other words, though there’s obviously some estimation involved here, at the end of Q316, over twice the percentage of the payroll workforce (4.5 percent) was in jobs which aren’t covered by unemployment insurance than were in that position at the end of Q308 (2.1 percent). The uncovered jobs would be primarily part-time in nature or relate to inconsistent work obtained through temporary help agencies.

In raw numbers, such workers numbered roughly 6.5 million in Q316. In 2008, they numbered only about 2.9 million.

This is a fundamental change which has occurred during the Obama administration which the press has either completely ignored or insisted on denying. If this had happened during a Republican or conservative administration, they’d have spent the past several years obsessing over it. It also ties into a former Obama administration economist’s report indicating that:

… from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of Americans workers engaged in what they refer to as “alternative work” soared during the Obama era, from 10.7% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2015. Alternative, or “gig” work is defined as “temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract company workers, independent contractors or freelancers”, and is generally unsteady, without a fixed paycheck and with virtually no benefits.

In general, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this trend if freely chosen without duress. But it runs completely opposite to the type of economy “progressives” say they want (full-time work with gold-plated benefits), and it has occurred during — and I would argue, as a result of — the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy and the historically awful Obama-era “recovery.”

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011217)

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: Egyptian cathedral restored after December bombing

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Cairo:

Jan 5, 2017 / 06:20 am

The Egyptian army corps of engineers has completed the restoration of Saint Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, where a terrorist attack last month left 27 dead.

In a statement published on their Facebook page, the Egyptian Army reported that the areas of the church damaged by the attack were quickly repaired by direct order of President Abdel Fattah Sisi so that Coptic Christians could celebrate the feast of Christmas there.

Coptic Christians – who represent 10% of the population of Egypt and often face building restrictions and other obstacles in practicing their faith – celebrate Christmas on January 7.

The Coptic Cathedral of Saint Mark, located in the Al Abasiya neighborhood, was damaged Dec. 11 by a suicide bombing. The target of the attack was the Saint Peter and Saint Paul chapel, an annex to the cathedral, where Mass was being celebrated at the time.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which is among the deadliest against civilians in Egypt in recent years. The majority of the dead and injured were women and children. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 11, 2017

Maggie Hassan Still Thinks WashPost’s Fake Vermont Utility Hack Story Is True

Demonstrating the power of fake news to influence uninformed people, just-elected Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire brought up a thoroughly discredited Washington Post story at the Senate confirmation hearing for Former General John Kelly. President-Elect Donald Trump has nominated Kelly to be the nation’s next head of the Department of Homeland Security.

Hassan brought up the Post’s story on a late-December “infrastructure” attack by “a hacking group connected with the Russian government” on a Vermont utility as if it was an established fact. The obvious problem is that Post’s reporting been completely discredited, to the point where the paper was forced to concede that it the incident did not penetrate the electric grid, and that it was “not linked to any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility.”

(more…)

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