May 21, 2016

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.”

(more…)

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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.

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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
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 05/17/2016 AT 06:20 PM 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 www.thelittlesistersofthepoor.com.

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May 19, 2016

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

In a Thursday morning column at Salon.com, 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.”

(more…)

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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.

(more…)

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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:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

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.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

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.

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (051916)

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: Polish rallies seek stronger protections for unborn children

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Warsaw:

May 17, 2016 / 04:02 pm

Thousands of Polish pro-lifers have called on parliament to pass a bill that would further restrict abortion in the country.

“Today we are calling on our state authorities to guarantee full legal protection of unborn children,” Pawel Kwasniak said to a Sunday rally of over 1,000 people in Warsaw.

Kwasniak heads the Support Center for Life and Family Initiatives, the Warsaw-based pro-life NGO that organized support for the proposal.

Rallies in favor of the proposed bill were held in 140 cities and towns across Poland May 15, organizers said. Backers of the bill include Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who heads Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, and Prime Minister Beata Szydlo.

The proposed citizen’s bill would allow abortions only to save a women’s life. It would increase the maximum prison sentence for unauthorized abortions from two years to five. Those who provide information about or arrange for a legal abortion abroad could be liable as an accessory to the act, Deutsche Welle reports.

In June 2011 backers of a similar proposal gathered over 500,000 signatures in support, but the bill was defeated by a majority of MPs. Citizens must gather over 100,000 valid signatures by the end of June to oblige parliament to proceed, Agence France Presse reports.

Since 1993, Poland’s abortion law allows abortions only for pregnancies that result from rape or incest, that pose a risk to the health of the mother, or that involve a severely deformed unborn baby. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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May 18, 2016

In 2012, Bill Clinton Predicted We’d Be Feeling Good About the Economy by Now

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton believes we’re supposed to be impressed by the idea of putting her husband Bill, in the Associated Press’s words, “in charge of revitalizing the economy.” Yep, the old “2-for-1″ offer from the early 1990s is back.

In 1993, President Bill put First Lady Hill in charge of health care. Fortunately, nothing tangible resulted, but we did get an early lesson in the extremes of Clintonian secrecy and stonewalling. This time, a President Hill would put “First Dude” Bill — as the AP’s Lisa Lerer and Catherine Lucey, brazenly stealing Sarah Palin’s description of husband Todd while she was Alaska’s Governor, prospectively described him on Monday — effectively in charge of the economy. Here’s the big problem the press is virtually certain to ignore: Bill Clinton guaranteed the nation in 2012 that the economy under a reelected Barack Obama would not need revitalization by now.

Specifically, concerning the apparently imminent and wondrous improvements to come, he guaranteed that “You will feel it.”

(more…)

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Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (051816)

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: How the Little Sisters find joy despite their ongoing court case

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

From Washington:

May 17, 2016 / 03:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- If you are a Christian, your life should not be a perpetual Lent – this was the message of the communications director for the Little Sisters of the Poor at a prayer breakfast on Tuesday.

“Don’t let anything rob you of the joy of the Gospel. Dare to be of good cheer,” Sister Constance Veit, LSP, said at the annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast May 17 in Washington, D.C.

An archbishop had counseled her with those words during the sisters’ ongoing HHS mandate case against the federal government, a case that was sent back to the circuit courts by the Supreme Court on Monday.

The National Catholic Prayer Breakfast has been held annually in Washington, D.C. since 2004, with an attendance of over 1,000. Catholic priests, bishops, religious, and lay leaders all gather to reflect and pray for the country.

Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was the keynote speaker at the event. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sister Constance also spoke.

The outgoing Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. Carlo Maria Vigano was also in attendance. Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington offered the invocation and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said the closing benediction.

In her address, Sr. Constance discussed the importance of joy despite hardship. For several years, her community – which cares for the elderly poor in homes in the U.S. and across the globe – has been threatened by fines that could shut down their ministry if they do not agree to include contraception and similar products in their employer health care plan.

The sisters had been awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court, and will now wait as the lower court deliberates and comes to a ruling in their case.

But despite the uncertainty surrounding their future, Sr. Constance said, the sisters find joy and peace in following Christ and serving those in need.

She noted that Pope Francis named his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, or “The Joy of the Gospel,” and his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, “The Joy of Love.” In writing so much about “joy,” she said, “I think he is trying to tell us something.”

“I believe our contemporaries will listen to us only if we can show them by the way we live that the Gospel brings us lasting joy and happiness. Why follow it otherwise?” she said.

She also exhorted those in attendance to see Christ in all persons. This can only happen, she added, through having an “intimate encounter with God,” as Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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May 17, 2016

Another Example of the AP’s ‘Good News Promoted, Bad News Buried’ Economy Coverage

In mid-April, as I noted in a NewsBusters post, the Associated Press, apparently desperate to find any kind of good economic news that might offset the impact of an awful national industrial production report from the Federal Reserve, cited a positive manufacturing survey from just one state to claim that “goods production in the U.S. could be stabilizing.”

Lo and behold, yesterday that same one-state survey, the Empire State Manufacturing Index, showed that manufacturing in New York went into the tank in May, dropping into serious contraction after just two months of expansion. The wire service produced a terse four-paragraph report on the news, and appears to taken measures keep the bad news away from much of the nation.

(more…)

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