April 23, 2016

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (042316)

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: Jesuit Father Raymond Gawronski remembered for witness of priesthood

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Denver, Colorado:

Apr 21, 2016 / 10:22 am

Father Raymond Thomas Gawronski, S.J., professor of dogmatics at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, California, died in the closing hours of April 14 of complications from cancer, at the age of 65.

He was remembered for his love of Christ, formation of seminarians, and witness to the beauty of the priesthood.

“Certainly he was an excellent classroom lecturer, but it was his real interest in the (seminarians), and their spiritual development, and his desire that they have a real relationship with Christ – that was his constant theme,” said Fr. Gladstone Stevens, the rector and president of St. Patrick’s Seminary.

“He was such a great witness to what priests could be.”

Fr. Stevens told CNA that while Fr. Gawronski had not been at the seminary for very long, “when you think about the disproportion between the time he was here and his impact, it’s just incredible: he was such a presence here, in such a positive way.”

Gawronski was born in Brooklyn Sept. 9, 1950, to Stanley and Blanche Gawronski, a family of Polish heritage. Growing up in New York and New Jersey, he graduated with a degree in philosophy from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. In 1971. He later earned a master’s degree in world religions from Syracuse University, where he studied under Dr. Huston Smith.

In 1977 Gawronski joined the Society of Jesus. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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April 22, 2016

National Press Ignores Huge AFP Win in Calif. Donor Disclosure Trial

Americans For Prosperity won a huge court victory in California Thursday against that state’s hard-left vindictive attorney general, Kamala Harris. Naturally, the national press is doing what it does when it doesn’t want to cover a story: letting the Politico cover it and then pretending that this suffices.

Harris demanded that AFP provides the section of its not-for-profit Federal Form 990 identifying its donors. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows, despite Harris’s lip service to confidentiality, that her motivation is to have the names leak out so that donors are subject to the kind of public intimidation to which those who supported the pro-traditional marriage Proposition 8 in California were subjected in 2008. Judge Manuel L. Real in the California District Federal Court forcefully denied that demand (HT Powerline). Deceptive headlines at the state’s two largest newspapers betrayed clear displeasure with the result.

(more…)

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Press Blows Off 10-Solyndra Dollar Losses at Two Bankrupt Solar Companies

SunEdison, a once high-flying solar energy company, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday. According to Reuters, the company’s stock traded as high as $33.44 in July 2015. The stock closed at 22 cents today. Nine years ago, the company’s market value was over $17 billion. According to the Associated Press, in July of last year it was still worth $10 billion.

The losses aren’t limited to investors, however, a fact that the establishment press has ignored in its SunEdison bankruptcy reports. As Roberty Bryce detailed at National Review on April 4 when the company’s bankruptcy began to appear unavoidable, taxpayers have also seen lots of money go down the drain at SunEdison and another bankrupt renewables company — ten times what was lost in the $500 million Solyndra bankruptcy (bolds are mine):

(more…)

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (042216)

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: No one is beyond conversion, Abby Johnson tells Georgetown students

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Apr 21, 2016 / 04:54 pm

No matter how deeply someone may be entrenched in the culture of death, they are never beyond the loving reach of Christ, said former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson to a group of Georgetown University students on Wednesday.

“I’m standing in front of you today as a testament to the power of conversion,” Johnson, a former Texas Planned Parenthood clinic director who later converted to Catholicism, said in a talk scheduled the same day as Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards’ address to students on Georgetown’s campus.

Reflecting later on Richards addressing students earlier in the afternoon, Johnson said, “I just kept thinking you know, I believe that one day – I have faith – that one day it won’t be me standing here speaking and defending the sanctity of human life.”

“I believe that one day it will be Cecile Richards standing here.”

Johnson’s speech was part of Life Week 2016 at Georgetown. A pro-life panel led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), chair of the Select Investigative Panel on Planned Parenthood, spoke on campus Tuesday evening. The group Students for Life organized a protest of Cecile Richards’ speech on Wednesday, before Johnson’s pro-life talk that evening. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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April 21, 2016

Reds Baseball Announcer Feels He Has to Apologize For Saying ‘Game of Sissies’

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 11:46 pm

I didn’t realize this, but then again I played youth sports back in the Mesozoic Era. When an exasperated coach called us “sissies” for not trying hard enough, whining about routine bumps and bruises, or (in baseball) not sliding, they were, according to today’s ignorant PC police, hitting us with an anti-homosexual slur. Horse manure; no they weren’t. They simply didn’t want us to act “timid or cowardly” (Definition 2 at Dictionary.com), two traits which are not positives in competitive situations.

In researching this post, I learned that the PC police succeeded in excising the idea of calling any single person or specifically named group of persons a “sissy” from civil conversation five to seven years ago. What I didn’t realize is that they object even if the word is not directed at specific people. That explains why Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame baseball announcer Marty Brennaman became a recipient of their ire on Wednesday.

(more…)

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Former WashPost Reporter’s Coverage of Food Stamp ‘Cuts’ at The Fiscal Times Is Riddled With Laziness, Errors and Bias

As the Washington Free Beacon reported today (confirmed here in a chart published two weeks ago), the number of Americans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), traditionally known as Food Stamps, dropped below 45 million for the first time in almost five years (actually, 57 months) in January.

This is hardly cause for cheer, and does nothing to change the fact that in the vast majority of states, the Food Stamp program has been fundamentally transformed during the past eight years into a guaranteed income program. But to former longtime Washington Post reporter Eric Pianin, who has toiled at The Fiscal Times web site during the past six years, it was cause to go after House-led budget “cuts” and efforts at structural reform in an April 14 report riddled with laziness, errors and bias.

(more…)

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Cherry-Picking AP Pushes Positive NY Mfg. Report, Ignores Downbeat Philly Data

On Sunday, I noted how the Associated Press wouldn’t let the awful national news from the Federal Reserve on Industrial Production (second straight month of 0.6 percent contraction) stand alone without trying to offset it with phony evidence that U.S. manufacturing is showing “signs of stability.” That “evidence” was primarily a positive manufacturing survey result from just one state: New York. The AP also dedicated a separate national story to that New York Federal Reserve-published result.

So when the Philadelphia Federal Reserve published its manufacturing survey earlier today, one might have expected that AP would have given it a story, especially since today wasn’t a particularly big day for other impactful economic releases. Of course, AP ignored it — because the result was negative, defying expecations that it would remain positive for a second straight month. From what I can determine, the Philly Fed’s release is not even a local AP story.

(more…)

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Initial Unemployment Claims (042116): 247K SA; Raw Claims (242K) 14 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:45 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending April 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 247,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 253,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since November 24, 1973 when it was 233,000. The 4-week moving average was 260,500, a decrease of 4,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 265,000.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 241,862 in the week ending April 16, a decrease of 28,557 (or -10.6 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 22,767 (or -8.4 percent) from the previous week. There were 279,797 initial claims in the comparable week in 2015.

This element of the job market has been strong. Even setting aside the issue that there are more part-timers who can’t get unemployment when they’re let go, the continued low level of claims likely means that those who are being let go are finding employment elsewhere relatively quickly, and thus don’t need to apply for unemployment benefits.

Additionally, I have learned that at least in Ohio, unemployment comp has become tougher to collect (or continue collecting), because, as I understand it, failure to accept a job offer of any kind — whether or not in your chosen profession or the line of work you desire — can be grounds for ending payments. This is likely forcing job searchers to be more determined in their efforts to find something they consider truly suitable, and quickly, before they need to apply for unemployment benefits.

Although there are obvious exceptions, some employers are getting better at giving their employees public (or private) heads-up about impending job cuts so that those who want to look for a new employer while they’re still currently employed can do so.

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (042116)

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 pain – and surprising beauty – of hospice care for babies

Filed under: Health Care,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Apr 21, 2016 / 03:01 am

They’re the last words any expecting parent wants to hear. But though it’s rarely discussed, thousands of couples every year get the news: that their unborn child has a severe, life-threatening condition.

And what’s more, few receive the resources, support and information they need to carry their child to term.

“In your mind you have this outcome that you’re going to have a baby,” said Dianna Vagianos Armentrout, “and then you find out you will have a baby, but it’s going to die.”

Dianna’s daughter, Mary Rose, died shortly after her birth in 2014.

Although the process of her daughter’s pregnancy, birth and death was difficult and painful, there was still beauty and even joy, she told CNA. In talking to other parents who offered counsel and to Isaiah’s Promise, a peer support ministry for parents facing difficult prenatal diagnoses, Dianna found peace.

“The way that they acknowledged the unborn child and the way they gave us permission to still be joyful, even though the child would probably die,” she said.

“If I could give one thing to a pregnant woman it would be that it’s going to be okay,” Dianna said, offering her own advice to parents facing a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis for their child. “The baby’s going to do what it’s supposed to do.”

“For everyone I know (in the same situation), the baby has died so peacefully.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

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April 20, 2016

Forbes Interviewed Two of the Same $15/Hr.-Supporting Businesses AP Did Three Weeks Ago

On April 1, the Associated Press, in an online video which I covered in an April 2 NewsBusters post, interviewed three California business owners about the impact the state’s just-passed $15-per-hour minimum wage would have on their businesses.

Though the video was headlined “Small Businesses React to Calif. Wage Increase,” the owners interviewed weren’t representative of the whole state in any way. All three are based in San Francisco. Two of the three are supporters of the minimum-wage increase; the third, a small bookstore owner, thinks businesses like his should have been exempt, as the increase should only have targeted “multinational corporations that make billions of dollar of profits.” It turns out that two of the three owners interviewed by AP were also interviewed by Susan Adams at Forbes on March 31. That can’t possibly be a wild coincidence.

(more…)

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Press Ignores Testimony of Grieving Parents of Illegal-Immigrant Murder Victims

Three important things happened at Tuesday’s hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

The first was the testimony of the mothers of children killed by illegal immigrants. The second was the outrageous and false contention by a Methodist bishop that the mere act of bringing attention to these heinous offenses is a form of “blind vengeance” over “isolated … incidents.” (In other words, it is our moral duty to shut up.) The third explains why very few Americans have no idea that the first two items occurred, namely that the establishment press, consistent with its practice since Republicans took over the House of Representative in early 2011, chose not to cover what happened at yet another congressional hearing.

(more…)

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More on Those Intel Layoffs: It’s the Economy

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:08 am

PC sales have declined by far more than industry watchers anticipated:

WorldWidePCsales1Q16and1Q15

WorldwidePCsales1Q16and1Q15

As to reasons for the decline, the case that the dominant reason is that people are going to smartphones and tablets to avoid buying PCs doesn’t look very strong. Smartphone and tablet sales have also suffered.

Year-over-year fourth-quarter smartphone unit sales in the U.S. declined by 6.6 percent. The worldwide year-over-year decline in the first quarter was 1.3 percent. I couldn’t find U.S. data, but given that it’s a more mature market, one would expect a steeper drop here compared to the rest of the world.

Worldwide tablet sales fell 10.1 percent last year.

The bottom line to me is that Intel and the PC makers are suffering from something worse than a shift to other devices. They’re suffering because customers are holding out as long as they can with their existing PCs (and even, though to a lesser extent, their existing smartphones), because they really can’t afford to buy new ones, despite their superior performance and user-friendliness.

In its earnings announcement yesterday, Intel, which knows that it can’t afford to draw too much attention to itself, lest they get a knock on the door from the Obama administration over its near-monopoly in computer processors, cryptically cited “PC market and macro-economic challenges” to explain its poor performance in hardware. That’s as close as you’ll get to seeing such a large and publicly visible company get to saying “The economy stinks, and it’s hurting us.”

The slumps in PC, tablet and smartphone sales do not bode well at all for first-quarter GDP.

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