January 14, 2018

AP Flubs Reporting on Immigration-DACA ‘Negotiating’

One reason a coherent debate about immigration is almost impossible in this country is that the press fails to honestly and accurately report even the most basic facts. A Saturday Associated Press report on the topic by Nicholas Riccardi exemplifies this consistent failure.



Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011418)

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.


Positivity: Fr. Piero Gheddo, envoy to the peripheries, dies at 88

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Jan 3, 2018 / 07:00 pm

One of the Church’s great media missionaries of the 20th century, Fr. Piero Gheddo, died last month at the age of 88. Gheddo died on Dec. 20, after more than half a century of work in Catholic media apostolates.

An Italian member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), Gheddo was the editor of missionary magazines, a founder of communications agencies, and a prolific author, whose books were translated into 30 languages.

In his autobiography, “Special Envoy To the Borders of Faith,” he wrote: “I do not deny the enormous problems we are enduring, but let us try to read them through God’s lenses … Authentic faith says that the history of humanity, as well as our little personal history and the millenary history of the Church, are in the hands of God.”

Gheddo advocated for the beatification of several missionaries, among them Clemente Vismara, a missionary to Burma, and that of Mario Vergara, a missionary to Laos. In 2006, Bishop Enrico Masseroni of Vercelli began a cause for beatification of Gheddo’s own parents, Rosetta Franzi (1902-1934) and Giovanni Gheddo (1900-1942).

It was obvious to those who knew him that Fr. Gheddo came from a family of deeply Catholic roots.

January 13, 2018

AP Reporters Criticize One-Time Bonuses As Only a ‘Sliver’ of ‘Windfalls’

It takes a special talent to spin news which is unquestionably positive into something negative. But Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak at the Associated Press were up to the task in a Wednesday afternoon report on bonuses, pay raises, and other benefits which now have been showered on well over 2 million American workers since the December passage of federal tax cuts.



Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011318)

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.


Positivity: RIP, J.J. Hanson — Assisted suicide opponent remembered for his strength, determination

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

From New York City:

Jan 4, 2018 / 05:08 pm

The funeral for J.J. Hanson, an outspoken assisted suicide opponent, was celebrated Thursday. He was remembered for his strength, faith, and determination.

Hanson died of brain cancer on Saturday at the age of 36. He is survived by his wife, Kristen, and his sons James and Lucas.

“He [J.J.] was one of the most optimistic persons I’ve met in my life,” said Fr. Joselin Berkmans during the homily at Hanson’s Mass of Christian Burial, held Jan. 4 at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Yulan, N.Y., about 90 miles northwest of New York City.

“What a great spirit he had. He never worried about his life, but always wanted to be the hope for all who were around him,” Fr. Berkmans continued.

Hanson’s death was felt by many in the New York area, including Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany.

“As we mourn the loss of our friend and fellow advocate, James “J.J.” Hanson, we choose not to focus on the great sorrow surrounding his death,” Bishop Scharfenberger said on Twitter.

“Instead, today, we choose to focus on the great good J.J. did during his time on earth, especially during the past few years of his life when his battle with cancer became for him an opportunity to show the strength of his faith and the power of love and determination,” Bishop Scharfenberger continued.

In 2014, Hanson was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a terminal brain cancer, the same illness that led Brittany Maynard to take her own life in California three years ago, and given four months to live.

While given a life expectancy of only a few months, Hanson was surrounded by a positive support group and a loving family. Hanson said that during his darkest moment, he might have opted for assisted suicide, but instead chose to pursue alternative treatments. He lived three years longer than expected.

“Here I am three years later, enjoying the arrival of our second son and living life to the fullest,” Hanson said in October 2017.

Throughout his battle with cancer, Hanson became a passionate opponent of physician-assisted suicide and was the president of the Patients Rights Action Fund, an organization which fights efforts to legalize assisted suicide.

He was also actively involved with the New York State Catholic Conference and the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide, where he fought against the passage of a bill that would have legalized assisted suicide in the state of New York.

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 12, 2018

More Government Statistical Sandbagging? Here’s 2017′s History of Retail Sales Revisions

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:01 pm

It’s strange how often, and by how much, monthly advance retail sales were revised up during 2017.

Here we go, with original advance readings and current readings per the detailed database (bolds are improvements from advance estimate, italics are declines from original estimates):

In 11 months, there have been three net downward revisions from original to current readings totaling -0.5 points.

In 11 months, there have been eight net upward revisions from original to current readings totaling +2.2 points.

It’s hard to see these results as random.

Other points:

  • Per Bloomberg, “The average gain in sales over the last two months was the strongest for any November and December since 2010.”
  • December’s and November’s seasonally adjusted year-over-year monthly increases (Page 4 at linkl pending more revisions, of course) were 5.4 percent and 6.0 percent.



Laura Ingraham: Illegals Arrested in Denver Drug Bust Could Have Been DACA Beneficiaries

Thursday evening’s Ingraham Angle show on Fox News spent much of its time on immigration and DACA, the Deferred Amnesty for Child Arrivals program which was unilaterally created without congressional approval by the Obama administration in 2012. In one particularly telling exchange, host Laura Ingraham highlighted a major drug bust in Denver after she learned that all six men arrested or wanted are in the U.S. illegally — something the Denver Post and two other Denver-area media outlets which have covered the story have all failed to report.



Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011218)

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.


Positivity: Appeals court strikes down Baltimore law targeting pregnancy centers

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

From Baltimore:

Jan 5, 2018 / 04:56 pm

An appellate court struck down a Baltimore city ordinance Friday, ruling that the city’s pro-life pregnancy centers would not be forced to display in their waiting areas information relating to abortion services.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ Jan. 5 decision, a victory for Baltimore’s pregnancy centers, was a unanimous 3-0.

Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc., a pro-life pregnancy center in Baltimore, along with the Archdiocese of Baltimore and St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Congregation, Inc., sued the city of Baltimore in March 2010 after a city ordinance was passed the previous year which required it and other organizations promoting alternatives to abortion to post signs in their waiting room saying that they do not perform abortions and will not refer patients out for an abortion.

The ordinance only applied to “limited-service pregnancy center(s)” that do not provide abortion or birth control.

Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns said that they should not be forced to post this information as it ran contrary to the center’s mission. The center operates in space owned by a Catholic church, and provides pregnant women with counseling, sonograms, pregnancy tests, prenatal vitamins, diapers, and other needs completely free of charge.

The mayor of Baltimore and the City Council were joined in the suit by a variety of pro-abortion groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood of Maryland, and the Maryland Abortion Fund. The city argued that the ordinance was lawful due to the center’s “deceptive advertising” and the various health risks from delaying an abortion.

Previously, the center had run advertisements on Baltimore busses about its free pregnancy tests, counseling, and alternatives to abortion, but did not mention that it is a center religiously opposed to abortion.

In October 2016 the district court ruled in favor of Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc., but the ruling was appealed and sent to the 4th Circuit.

In the appellate court’s opinion, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson said that the City of Baltimore could not provide a single example of someone who entered the Greater Baltimore Center thinking that she could obtain an abortion or abortion referral, and that the center had a history of “affirmative advocacy of abortion alternatives.”

Wilkinson said the city ordinance was “neither viewpoint nor content neutral,” as it was aimed specifically at clinics that do not provide abortion services.

“We do not begrudge the City its viewpoint. But neither may the City disfavor only those who disagree,” wrote Wilkinson.

Go here for the rest of the story.


Not News: Tax-Cut ‘Crumbs’ Were a Big Deal to Pelosi and Dems in 2011-2012

Thursday, House Democratic Party Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi characterized as “crumbs” the bonuses of $1,000 or more, pay raises of up to $3 per hour, and other benefits well over 100 companies have showered on over 2 million employees as a result of December’s tax law passage. Given their track record, there’s no reason to believe that the establishment press will report Pelosi’s condescending remarks — or that they will remind their audience that in 2011 and 2012, the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress treated the prospect of workers losing $40 every other week in their paychecks as catastrophic.


January 11, 2018

Cynical Journalists Downplay Walmart’s Tax Cut-Driven Bonuses, Pay Raises, Perks

It takes an especially miserable person to find a reason to complain when more than a million individuals and families are suddenly better off than they were before. Now make that two million in the wake of Walmart’s Thursday announcement that it is granting bonuses of up to $1,000 to every employee, raising its base wage to $11 an hour, enhancing its paid-leave benefits, and providing a new adoption-assistance benefit. It’s early but the media whining has seemingly increased.



Not National News: Costco Pushes Back Against Seattle’s Sugary Drink Tax

The City of Seattle probably didn’t expect pushback from Costco, seen by many on the left as retail’s “anti-Walmart,” after its “sugary drink” tax of 1.75 cents per ounce went into effect January 1. But that is exactly what has happened. In moves the national press, which largely supports such taxes, has thus far ignored, Costco is itemizing the built-in cost of the tax on its Seattle store’s shelf tags, and informing customers that they won’t pay the tax if they shop at one of two other Costco stores outside Seattle’s city limits.



Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (011118)

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.


Positivity: Students use Harry Potter to give teacher a gift to see colors

Filed under: Education,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Dayton, Indiana (HT Weasel Zippers):

Published 8:00 p.m. ET Jan. 4, 2018

A group of students surprised their teacher Monday with a rare surprise — the gift of color.

Beau Scott, the 4th and 5th grade higher ability teacher at Dayton Elementary School, is color blind. At stoplights, the colors look the same.

A few of his students wanted to do something special for him. Claire De Lon, a 5th grader, and Nori Patterson, a 4th grader, both were trying to raise money for color-seeing glasses for Scott.

“It must be really hard for him to see that way,” Claire said.

Nori said she and her family wanted to do something nice for Scott, and the two girls found out they were both trying to do the same thing.

Scott is one of Claire and Nori’s favorite teachers, so it made sense to do something for him.

So the two joined forces and started to raise money for the glasses.

Claire sold decorative mice with candy cane tails, and students in the class donated anywhere from $5 to $10 each to raise a little more than $300 for Scott’s glasses.

Both Nori and Claire were nervous because, in some cases, the glasses don’t work for everyone.

“I know he would be grateful for the gift from everyone, but I hope it works,” Nori said.

The students told Scott they wanted to perform a Harry Potter “magic trick.” So when he closed his eyes, the students gave him a wand, a broom and his Quidditch goggles — also known as the color-seeing glasses.

Then, on the count of three, the kids held up a sign saying “Merry Christmas” on different colors of paper.

At first, he didn’t notice the change, he said. But after lifting the glasses slightly, he could see the difference.

“Oh my gosh, guys,” he said. “Oh my gosh. This is awesome. I can see the colors.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.