October 19, 2014

Reuters: People Left Obama’s Speech Early; But at AP, It Was a ‘Rowdy Rally’ (See Update)

One would think, based on comparing dispatches from Reuters and the Associated Press, that President Barack Obama must have spoken at two different events in Upper Marlboro, Maryland today.

The two dispatches are so radically different in tone and content that they it doesn’t seem possible that they both could be from the same event. But they are. Jeff Mason at Reuters (saved here for future reference and fair use purposes) observed “early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.” Josh Lederman at AP (saved here) described “a rowdy crowd of about 8,000 people” attending “a rally that had the feeling of a gospel service.” A more detailed comparison follows the jump:

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AP Relays WH Howler: $483 Billion Deficit Is ‘Return to Fiscal Normalcy’

The White House is apparently feeling pretty full of itself over the fiscal 2014 federal budget result it has just reported.

Reacting to the news that this year’s deficit was “only” $483.4 billion, White House budget director Shaun Donovan crowed that “This is a return to fiscal normalcy.” The press, of course including Andrew Taylor at the Associated Press, has accepted all of this with little challenge, including the administration’s misleading “percentage of GDP” assertions, which completely ignore how much more the national debt has grown than the reported budget deficits. Taylor went one step further, blatanty deceiving readers as to how much money the federal government borrows for every dollar it spends.

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Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101914)

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.

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Positivity: Pope Francis’ closing synod speech received with standing ovation

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 18, 2014 / 04:15 pm

Pope Francis’ address at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family, delivered Saturday, was responded to with a four-minute standing ovation on the part of the bishops attending the Vatican meeting.

In the Oct. 18 speech, the Pope thanked the bishops for their efforts, and noted the various temptations that can arise in such a synod setting. He encouraged the bishops to live in the tension, saying that “personally I would be very worried and saddened if it were not for these temptations and these animated discussions; this movement of the spirits, as St Ignatius called it (Spiritual Exercises, 6), if all were in a state of agreement, or silent in a false and quietist peace.”

“Instead, I have seen and I have heard – with joy and appreciation – speeches and interventions full of faith, of pastoral and doctrinal zeal, of wisdom, of frankness and of courage: and of parrhesia. And I have felt that what was set before our eyes was the good of the Church, of families, and the ‘supreme law,’ the ‘good of souls; (cf. Can. 1752).”

In conclusion, looking forward to the 2015 synod, which will also be on the family, Pope Francis said, “now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families.”

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ address, according to the provisional translation provided by Vatican Radio:
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October 18, 2014

In Oct. 2008, AP Said Obama Would Inherit A Deficit of $700 Billion

On October 8, Andrew Taylor at the Associated Press wrote that “(President Barack) Obama inherited a trillion-dollar-plus deficit after the 2008 financial crisis.” In a NewsBusters post later that day, I pegged Obama’s true inheritance at roughly $245 billion as of when he was first sworn into office, and at about $600 billion if projected over the full fiscal year. The actual deficit for fiscal 2009 came in at just over $1.4 trillion due to deficit-increasing statements and actions taken by Obama and Congress.

I guess we’re supposed to forget about Taylor’s egregious falsehood, because AP’s national site has since replaced his story, perhaps more than one time. That’s not happening.
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Ohio Casinos’ Parent Is on the Rocks; Ohio Press is AWOL

This one appears to be heading for the “Be careful what you wish for” file.

Ohio has staked a significant portion of its future economic well-being on the gambling industry, and, with voter approval, removed legal barriers previously in place which prevented its growth.

Setting aside the moral hazard issues (which are of course quite relevant), gambling casinos have been sold as economic panaceas throughout the nation, and it’s simply not working out. They certainly didn’t save Detroit, and Atlantic City is dealing with extraordinarily hard times. Many other dominos may soon fall.

A major player in that industry is in deep trouble, and its apparently imminent implosion would almost certainly have Buckeye State impact:

AS DEBT MOUNTS, CAESARS IN TALKS WITH LENDERS

Caesars Entertainment said Friday it is prepared to start formal discussions with some of its bank lenders as it works to reduce its debt and stave off what some see as near certain bankruptcy.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the casino company announced that it has reached out to some of its creditors – namely bank lenders – to find ways to ease pressure on its $24.2 billion debt.

That came a day after the company promised its creditors who are first in line a claim on cash held by its debt-strapped subsidiary Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. in case it defaulted. It’s been in formal talks with that group of creditors, too, for about a month.

…  The tricky part … is the creditors who are second-in-line.

… the company owes more than the company is worth to those who are first-in-line to be paid back. That leaves little for those second in line.

Those in the latter position have declared Caesars already in default of its agreements. The company dismissed the contentions in recent securities filings.

“It’s just hard to see everybody agreeing to a deal without a pretty long bankruptcy proceeding,” (Fitch Ratings financial analyst Alex) Bumazhny said.

The company has 52 casinos in the United States and abroad with most bearing the Caesars, Harrah’s and Horseshoe brand. About 68,000 people worked for the company at the end of 2013.

The company’s related press release is here.

Properties of immediate Buckeye State interest include Horseshoe Cincinnati and Horseshoe Cleveland.

The parent company lost $853 million on $4.2 billion in revenues during the first six months of this year. It had interest expense of $1.25 billion during that period.

None of this is news at the Cincinnati Enquirer, at least based on a vain search for the word “Horseshoe” on its home page, and the results (i.e., none relevant) of a search on “Horseshoe.”

Cleveland.com appears to be similarly devoid of news.

6-1/2 years of a miserable national economy, dating back to the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy’s inception, have left most Americans with little discretionary income. Ohio has over that period been harder hit and has recovered more slowly and unevenly than most other states. People with little discretionary income and a modicum of sense aren’t inclined to gamble away what little they have.

This doesn’t appear to be destined to end well. If it doesn’t, it will apparently come as a big surprise. It shouldn’t.

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Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101814)

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.

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Positivity: Pope Francis — Our names are in the heart of God

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 16, 2014 / 04:07 am

In his mass on Thursday Pope Francis encouraged attendees to pray to God by praising him, saying that remembering the good he has done, particularly how he created us in love, helps us to know how.

“Prayers of praise bring us this joy, (the joy of) being happy before the Lord. Let’s make a real effort to rediscover this!” the Pope said in his Oct. 16 homily.

A starting point for this can be to remember how “God chose me before the creation of the world,” he said, adding that our names are in “God’s heart (and) in God’s bowels, just as the baby is inside its mother.”

Pope Francis began his reflections by returning to the day’s first reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the apostle praises God for the gifts he has given, and recalls how “he chose us in him from before the foundation of the world.”

When it comes to prayer, most of us know how to ask for things that we want and even thank the Lord for what he has done, but “a prayer of praise” is a bit harder, the Roman Pontiff observed, because we are not used to praying like that.

One thing that can help learn how to do this is to remember “all of the things that the Lord has done for us in our lives,” he said.

“In Him – In Christ – He chose us before the creation of the world,” the Bishop of Rome continued, saying that when we pray, we can say something like: “’Blessed are you, Lord, because You chose me!’ (This) is the joy of a paternal and tender closeness.”

Although at first it might be difficult to conceive that God knew us before the creation of the world and that our names were written on his heart, “This is the truth! This is the revelation!” the Pope explained. “If we do not believe this then we are not Christian!”

“We may be steeped in a theist religiosity, but not Christian! The Christian is a chosen one, the Christian is someone who has been chosen in God’s heart before the creation of the world,” he went on, noting that knowledge of this should give us both confidence and joy.

Because this creation is a mystery, we can only understand it by entering into the Mystery of Jesus Christ himself, who “poured out his blood for us in abundance, with all wisdom and intelligence,” the pontiff said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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October 17, 2014

As It Cites Countries Successfully Fending Off Ebola With Border Closures, AP Won’t Question U.S. Decision Not To

In an all too typical unskeptical report, Jim Kuhnhenn at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, allowed President Barack Obama to claim, in Kuhnhenn’s words, that “health and security experts continue to tell him that the screening measures already in place for travelers are more effective” than “restricting travel to the U.S. from the three Ebola-stricken West African nations.”

I’m sure that readers would just love to know who these “health and security experts” are, especially given the fact that the AP itself reported Thursday that nations in Africa which have successfully kept the virus at bay have cited “border closings” as a critical element of their strategy.

(more…)

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NewsBusted (101714)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 6:20 am

Here we go:

Topics:
– Chinese Economy
– John Boehner
– Syria
– Senator Mark Udall
– Nielsen TV Ratings
– Honolulu City Council
– President Obama
– Starbucks
– Prince Charles
– Barbara Streisand

Best Line: “The Honolulu Ciy Council has withdrawn a proposal to name a popular beach after President Obama. So instead, they will name an unpopular beach after him.”

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101714)

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.

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Positivity: Latvia turns heads in synod with strong witness of marriage

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Oct 17, 2014 / 12:03 am

In synod discussions last week, the Baltic nation of Latvia caught the attention many synod fathers, who were keen to hear why the number of divorces among their Catholic population is so low.

“In Latvia, it is a pity, but we have the highest number of divorces: 86 percent of marriages are divorced civil marriages. But when our civil mass media started to check how it is in the Church, they discovered that we just have 16 percent, and they asked why,” Archbishop Zbignev Stankevics of Riga told CNA Oct. 9.

Archbishop Stankevics explained that such a low number of divorces inside the Church is due in part to a “serious preparation for marriage, because we have an obligatory course for persons who want to get married in the Church.”

On the other hand, the archbishop explained that although there is naturally a greater sense of responsibility among people who seek sacramental marriage, “people who have faith don‘t resign when they meet the first difficulties during their married life.”
(more…)

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October 16, 2014

Words Can’t Be Found …

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 10:04 pm

… to describe how mortifying it is that Karl Rove was so disinterested in exposing Iraq’s actual possession of chemical weapons (i.e., weapons of mass destruction) that he “kept the public from learning about the chemical shells littered around the Iraqi battlefield.”

So the WMDs were there all along, just as yours truly and others have known, and insisted that everyone else know, for nine long years.

For nine long years we’ve had to listen to jerks on the left ask us why the Bush administration wasn’t claiming that WMDs were present, when anyone looking objectively at the facts knew they were.

Now we know why. Karl Rove (with Bush’s unforgivable acquiescence).

When “your side” won’t fight for the truth, they’re not really on your side. Hence the Tea Party. Hence why Karl Rove despises the Tea Party, because it wants the truth. Karl Rove obviously doesn’t.

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Initial Unemployment Claims Hit 14-Year Low; Raw Claims UP 5% From Previous Week

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:34 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending October 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 264,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 287,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since April 15, 2000 when it was 259,000. The 4-week moving average was 283,500, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 287,750. This is the lowest level for this average since June 10, 2000 when it was 283,500.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 271,590 in the week ending October 11, an increase of 14,031 (or 5.4 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 37,615 (or 14.6 percent) from the previous week. There were 360,957 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

The seasonal factors didn’t change much from year to year, but this week’s factor of 102.8 is way higher than last week (89.7) and next week (90.2) for no apparent reason (Columbus Day?). Using either of the other two factors would have generated seasonally adjusted claims of about 300,000. That’s actually a bit higher than we’ve seen in recent weeks.

So today’s news is nowhere near as good as it initially appears.

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101614)

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.

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