March 27, 2015

4Q15 GDP, Third Release (032715): An Annualized 2.2 Percent, Unchanged From Previous Estimate

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:35 am

The original reading released in late January showed annualized growth of 2.6 percent.

That was revised down — but not by as much as many expected — to 2.2 percent in late February.

The expectations for today, according to Yahoo’s Business Calendar, are for an upward revision to 2.4 percent from analysts in general and at Bloomberg is among those carrying a 2.4 percent prediction.

I didn’t think last month’s revised figure overstated the underlying reality, and I believe there have been some downward revisions to December which were figured into February’s estimate. Then again, I don’t think the economy grew by as much reported in the second or third quarter either — at least not in terms of reflecting genuine standard of living improvements.

The report will be here at 8:30:

HERE IT IS (full release text version): No change —

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “second” estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was also 2.2 percent. While increases in exports and in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) were larger than previously estimated and the change in private inventories was smaller, GDP growth is unrevised, and the general picture of the economy for the fourth quarter remains the same.

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from federal government spending and private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter primarily reflected an upturn in imports, a downturn in federal government spending, a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a larger decrease in private inventory investment that were partly offset by accelerations in PCE and in state and local government spending.

Here is the updated breakdown:


Biggest change: Health care spending, which accounts for 40 percent of the quarter’s growth, and arguably has nothing to do with improved standards of living. The 0.88 points added is the largest quarterly figure presented in the report, which goes back to Q1 of 2011.


UPDATE: Zero Hedge (spelling error corrected): “In short: a number which confirms the US economy is once again slowing down, and will hit the brakes when in one month the BEA reports that Q1 GDP was at or below 1.0%, with snow in the winter getting the bulk of the ridiculous blame once again.”

UPDATE 2: Also at Zero Hedge“Americans Spent All Their ‘Gas Savings’ On Obamacare”


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (032715)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 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: Peruvian march for life draws half a million

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Lima, Peru:

Lima, Peru, Mar 26, 2015 / 11:16 am

More than half a million Peruvians participated in the historic March for Life 2015, held March 21 in Lima, rejecting abortion and speaking out in defense of life from conception to natural death.

In Peru, the right to life from conception is protected by the Constitution of Peru, the Civil Code, the Code of Children and Adolescents, and the American Convention on Human Rights. March 25 is celebrated in the country’s Day of the Unborn, according to law.

Young people played a leading role in the march, as both volunteers and participants.

The massive demonstration doubled last year’s figures, when 250,000 people marched for life. …

Go here for the rest of the story.



Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 12:28 am

It’s amazing how it couldn’t have been more than a few hours after the crash, and authorities were already ruling out terrorism as the cause of Flight 4U 9525′s demise.

It’s complete BS that anyone could be that sure that quickly.

In this case, it’s become quite clear, with only a very slight possibility that this is a hoax, that the “not terrorism” claim also was REALLY complete BS (HT Gateway Pundit):

The co-pilot of the Germanwings Airbus was a convert to Islam

Translation from German:

All evidence indicates that the copilot of Airbus machine in his six-months break during his training as a pilot in Germanwings, converted to Islam and subsequently either by the order of “radical”, ie. devout Muslims , or received the order from the book of terror, the Quran, on his own accord decided to carry out this mass murder. As a radical mosque in Bremen is in the center of the investigation, in which the convert was staying often, it can be assumed that he – as Mohammed Atta, in the attack against New York – received his instructions directly from the immediate vicinity of the mosque.

Take snapshots of any of these related reports. The press is not going to amenable to reporting the truth if this was indeed a jihad-”inspired” suicide crash.

8:15 p.m.: Related, via Pamela Geller: “Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz praised on Facebook: ‘Our holy martyr Lubitz died for our prophet”

March 26, 2015

Earnest on MSNBC: ‘Success Or Stability Of The Yemeni Government’ Not a Measure of Success of U.S. Policy

Employing a variant of the old surgeon’s joke — “The operation was a success, but the patient died” — White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, on friendly ground on MSNBC this morning, essentially told viewers that the administration still considers Yemen a success, even as its government is on the fast track to being forced into indefinite exile.

Earnest told the “Morning Joe” show’s Mika Brzezinski and the assembled panel that “U.S. policy should not be graded against the success or the stability of the Yemeni government” — although, just for starters, Yemen’s President has fled, while the Los Angeles Times is reporting that, because of the Yemeni government’s instability, Iran has obtained a treasure trove of U.S. intelligence. Video and a transcript follow the jump (HT Real Clear Politics):



Initial Unemployment Claims (032615): 282K SA, Raw Claims 10 Percent Below Same Week Last Year

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

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending March 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 282,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 291,000. The 4-week moving average was 297,000, a decrease of 7,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 304,750.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 247,256 in the week ending March 21, a decrease of 12,986 (or -5.0 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 4,371 (or -1.7 percent) from the previous week. There were 274,072 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

According to Yahoo Business’s Economic Calendar, the result beat expectations of 290,000, while predicted 300,000.

There was no meaningful difference in the seasonal adjustment factors (88.5 during same week last year, 87.8 for the current week).

The raw claims number is enouraging.

Although I do need to remind readers every once in a while that “covered employment” — the number of people eliigible for unemployment benefits if they are laid off or let go without cause (133.40 million) — is still lower than it was at its peak six years ago (133.90 million), today’s result is very good.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (032615)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 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: Archbishop Romero hailed for life producing ‘great harvest’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Los Angeles:

Mar 25, 2015 / 10:26 am

Los Angeles Catholics gave thanks for Archbishop Oscar Romero’s upcoming beatification and prayed that his “shining example” of sacrificial love and solidarity with the poor and oppressed will continue to be fruitful.

“Archbishop Romero preached nonviolence and reconciliation in a time of hate and vengeance. He spoke out against every form of violence, every violation of the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person,” Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles said in a March 22 homily, noting that this included “the violence of abortion.”

“Like the grain of wheat that dies, his life has produced a great harvest — fruits of love,” the Los Angeles archbishop continued. “As he did, let us live for the love of Jesus and give ourselves to the service of others. May our lives produce much fruit — in this world and for eternal life.”

On Sunday, over 3,000 people gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels for a Spanish-language Mass in honor of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who will be beatified in San Salvador May 23.

The Mass marked the 35th anniversary of Archbishop Romero’s March 24, 1980 assassination during his celebration of Mass at a hospital chapel.

Archbishop Gomez concelebrated the Los Angeles Mass with Salvadoran priests who had worked closely with the martyred archbishop. Attendees at the Mass included California Gov. Jerry Brown and diplomatic leaders from Central and South America. …

Go here for the rest of the story.


‘Watters’ World’ Finds Several People Ignorant of and Hostile Towards America

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:09 am

Earlier this week, Meredith Shiner at Yahoo News, a political reporter with roughly six years of experience and a jourmalism degree from Duke, demonstrated breathtaking ignorance about Ted Cruz’s reference to God-given rights. She tweeted the following in reaction: “Bizarre to talk about how rights are God-made and not man-made in your speech announcing a POTUS bid? When Constitution was man-made?”

In a post on Shiner’s tweet on Monday, I wondered how widespread such breathtaking ignorance might be. In his Fox News “Watters’ World” segment on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Tuesday, Jesse Watters found some individual answers, many of them far from encouraging:


March 25, 2015

AP: ‘Not So Clear’ That Israel Is Democratic

The pundit class in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world is still seething over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral triumph last week.

On Monday, Dan Perry at the Associated Press took that hysteria to a new level, in effect attempting to discredit Bibi’s win by writing that, after all, it may not really be correct to call Israel a democracy. That’s because “Palestinians” who are in the occupied territories — whose leaders, and more than likely a majority of its residents would vote to expel all Jews from Israel in a heartbeat if they could — can’t vote (bolds are mine):



As Durable Goods Deterioration Continues, AP Hides the Decline

The Census Burau’s February Durable Goods report, released at 8:30 a.m. today, “unexpectedly” (Bloomberg did the U-word honors) came in with a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent decline compared to the 0.2 increase analysts expected. Additionally, January’s increase was revised down to 2.0 percent from 2.8 percent. Not adjusting for inflation, unadjusted (i.e., actual) February orders came in 2.3 percent below February 2014. Pending adjustments to February’s figures, seasonally adjusted durable goods orders have declined by 5.3 percent in the past four months.

Despite all of this, the Associated Press’s primary story on durable goods by Martin Crutsinger was gone from its Top Business Stories page by 2 p.m.



Positivity: New bishop in England looks forward to proclaiming Christ ‘with God’s help’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 2:21 pm

From Brighton, UK:

Mar 25, 2015 / 02:03 am

On Saturday, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Richard Moth of the British military diocese as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, where he looks forward to serving the Church and sharing the Gospel.

“It is a great privilege to have been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Arundel & Brighton and I am very conscious of the trust that has been placed in me,” Bishop Moth said March 21.

“In these last fifty years since the foundation of the Diocese, so much has been done to build up the Church and in the proclamation of the Gospel and, with God’s help, I look to guide and serve the Diocese to that same end.”

The Arundel and Brighton diocese had been vacant since September, when its previous shepherd, Bishop Kieran Conry, resigned after revealing he had been unfaithful to his promises as a priest. According to The Daily Mail, he had had an affair six years ago and had more recently been involved with a married woman.

Since Bishop Conry’s resignation, Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark has served as Arundel and Brighton’s apostolic administrator.

“I am especially grateful to Archbishop Peter Smith for all he has done in recent months to support and guide the Diocese,” Bishop Moth noted.

For his part, Archbishop Smith stated his great joy at the appointment.

“I was so pleased when I heard the news that he had accepted the appointment from the Holy Father,” he said. “I have known Bishop Richard for many years, firstly when I taught him as a student at St John’s Seminary, then as a fellow priest of the Archdiocese and most recently as a brother bishop. I know that he will work tirelessly to serve all the people of the diocese, and I have no doubt that he will prove to be a true pastor to the clergy, Religious and people of the Diocese.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.


Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (032515)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 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.

March 24, 2015

NewsBusted (032415)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 2:01 pm

Here we go:

– President Obama
– Economist Magazine
– Eric Holder
– Senator Robert Menendez
– Social Security
– Rolling Stones
– Senior Binge Drinkers
– Madonna
– New York pot laws

Best Lines:

  • “Scientists sy gene manipulation will one day allow people to live to be 500 years old. Unfortunately, Social Security runs out of money in 20 years.”
  • “Rumor has it that the Rolling Stones will launch a North American tour this summer. Now We don’t want to say they’re getting old, but the Stones’ tongue-and-lips logo is now a set of dentures.”
  • “According to a new study, seniors are the most frequent binge drinkers — followed closely by juniors, sophomores and freshmen.”

CNN Panelist: Suggestion That ‘Jackie’ Made Up UVa. Rape Story ‘Flies in the Face of Statistics’

On CNN yesterday, after the network cut away from the press conference where Charlottesville, Virginia Police Department announced that it “found no evidence to support claims in a Rolling Stone article that a University of Virginia student was gang raped at a campus fraternity in September 2012,” network panelist and CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin bizarrely resorted to “statistics” to defend “Jackie,” the student-fabulist involved.

The panel discussion which followed the press conference seemed to be all about telling viewers that “Despite what everyone says, it’s really not over.” Hostin’s major contribution to that meme was to essentially contend that because “only about 2 percent of rapes that are reported are false,” any allegation that “Jackie” was making things up is unfair and likely incorrect because it “flies in the face of statistics” — even though, in a new development, we learned that “Jackie” claimed that she was the victim of a second gang-rape incident in April 2014. Police also could find no evidence supporting that incident’s occurrence. Video and a transcript follow the jump: