July 25, 2014

The (Vain?) Search for 3 Percent 2Q14 GDP Growth

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:04 pm

Today’s durable goods report showed that the seasonally adjusted value of June shipments rose 0.1%.

Knowing orders is useful for gauging the future, but what goes into GDP is what is shipped/sold. This quarter’s rundown was +0.1% April, -0.1% May, and +0.1% June — before inflation, which was certainly greater than the 0.1% sum of the three months.

Meanwhile, over in consumer spending land, the markets were spooked by Amazon’s larger than expeted second quarter loss, its much larger forecast loss in the third quarter, and Visa’s weak second quarter.

Meanwhile monthly new-home sales have trailed the same month froma year for four out of the past five months.

So where is this 3 percent GDP growth going to come from?


Dereliction of Duty, Pure and Simple

Filed under: Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:31 am

From WCPO (HT to an emailer):

Does (Cincinnati) Mayor John Cranley’s goal of making Cincinnati the most immigration friendly city in America mean not enforcing the law?

Police chief Jeffrey Blackwell says police won’t aggressively go after undocumented aliens in town.

“We’re trying to make this the safest big city in America, and there’s a lot involved with that. And going after undocumented illegals is not part of that,” Blackwell said Thursday.

Apparently Mr. Blackwell has never heard of MS-13 or the other Mexican drug cartels.

Besides the obvious fact that being here illegally is a crime, Blackwell also apparently doesn’t know anything about the murder of Kevin Barnhill or the attempted murder at a construction site in Hamilton Township.

Yes, those incidents happened eight years ago. So? Think about how many more criminal illegals will locate here thanks to Mayor Cranley’s and Police Chief Blackwell’s Welcome Wagon invitiation.


NewsBusted (072214)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 7:35 am

Playing catchup … Here we go — This is one of their best ever:

– President Obama
– Malaysian Airlines
– Josh Earnest
– Illegal Alien Coyotes
– Self-Driving Obama Car
– CNN Reporter
– First Family
– Drunk TSA Agent
– llegals Hide in Gas Pipeline

Best Lines:

  • “The coyotes bringing the current wave of illegal aliens in through the southern border are making as much as $50,000 a week — which makes them the only high-paying jobs created during the Obama economy.”
  • “In a recent visit to Virginia, President Obama operated a self-driving car. But it was an Obama self-driving car, which means that it only turned left and then ended up in a ditch.”
  • “A CNN Reporter who referred to Israelis as ‘scum’ on Twitter has been reassigned — to a new job in the Obama State Department.”
  • “A drunk man at the San Francisco airport posed as a TSA agent and started groping women as he patted them down. The man’s behavior was so out of line the TSA hired him on the spot.”
  • “Illegal aliens have been found hiding in a natural gas pipeline and using it to get around border patrol agents. Uh, hold on … This just in. President Obama now plans on approving the Keyston XL Pipeline.”

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (072514)

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: Lives of the saints model Catholic social teaching in new book

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Huntington, Indiana:

Jul 22, 2014 / 11:59 am

Dignity of the human person, solidarity and care for creation are just a few topics author Brandon Vogt discusses in his new book, “Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World.”

“I hope that this book is a ringing call to saintliness for all readers to say, ‘I want to be a saint and here’s the game plan for doing it,’” Vogt told CNA July 11.

The book focuses on seven basic themes of Catholic social teaching – life and dignity of the human person; call to family, community and participation; rights and responsibilities; option for the poor and vulnerable; dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity; and care for creation.

It uses examples of the saints to show how those themes can be lived out in daily life.

“There’s lots of books on Catholic social teaching that are helpful in terms of the theoretical principles they provide, but most of them are very abstract. That’s what makes Catholic social teaching difficult – it’s hard to apply.”

By providing readers with examples of how real people practiced the principles of Catholic social teaching, he hopes that readers will be able to more easily live them out themselves. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

July 24, 2014


Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:59 am

From a Wednesday editorial at Investor’s Business Daily (HT Doug Ross; link added by me; bolds are mine):

… On Monday, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, which deals with such technical questions regarding computer hardware and record retention on a regular basis and which has reacted with the same incredulity as the rest of us, released a list of six basic questions the IRS needs to answer.

1. First, what happened to the IRS’ IT asset managers who seemingly vanished during this critical period? IAITAM , which runs the only worldwide certification program for IT asset managers, says its records show that at least three IRS IT asset managers were moved out of their positions at the time of the May 2013 inspector general’s report that detailed the agency’s targeting practices. What can they tell us?

2. The hard drives in question are federal property and cannot be destroyed or recycled without proper documentation. “Proper IT asset management requires clear proof and records of destruction when drives are wiped or destroyed,” notes IAITAM President and founder Barbara Rembiesa. Where are these records?

3. IAITAM asks if the drives were destroyed by an outside IT asset destruction unit, a not-unusual practice among federal agencies. If so, it adds an entire second layer of documentation of the destruction of these assets, including who approved it.

4. What are the IRS’ specific policies and procedures on document retention when hard drives are damaged or destroyed? In most large private-sector organizations, hard drives and computers are just not tossed in the dumpster or dropped off at the local recycling center until recovery of the lost data is assured.

5. What is the disaster recovery policy at the IRS, an agency responsible for our most sensitive tax information, particularly in light of its statistically implausible number of hard drive crashes?

6. Where are Lerner’s emails from her BlackBerry device and what is on the enterprise server? Some have even suggested Lerner may have off-loaded her emails to what is known as a USB flash drive and still has them in her possession, another federal offense.

The IRS is counting on the general public’s relative ignorance of computer technology to believe its smoke-and-mirror cover-up.

But in the age of the iPad and iPhone, even a child knows that something does not compute here.


Initial Unemployment Claims (072414): 284K; Raw Claims Come in Under 300K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:06 am

Prediction: Well, a sort-of prediction — Bloomberg News says that “U.S. economic data today will show new home sales fell in June, while a weekly report on initial claims for unemployment insurance will say applications rose.”

Last week came in with 302,000 seasonally adjusted claims.

Update: Business Insider has a 307K prediction.

Seasonal adjustment factors:

  • Week ended July 19, 2014 — 99.2
  • Week ended July 20, 2013 — 103.0

Raw claims:

  • Week ended July 12, 2014 — (before revision)
  • Week ended July 20, 2013 — 340,457

It looks as if this week’s seasonal factor will make today’s result look better than it should by about 11,000 or 12,000 claims. Both weeks above were full five-day, mid-July business weeks, and there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for the differential between the years’ seasonal factors, and last year’s seasonally adjusted results were consistent with other weeks in July.

For a repeat of or improvement upon last week’s performance, raw claims will need to be 311,000 or lower (311K divided by 1.03 is 302K, rounded).

But, consisted with what was just noted above, raw claims really need to come in at or below 300K.

We’ll see here at 8:30.



In the week ending July 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 284,000, a decrease of 19,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since February 18, 2006 when they were 283,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 302,000 to 303,000. The 4-week moving average was 302,000, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since May 19, 2007 when it was 302,000. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 309,000 to 309,250.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 292,344 in the week ending July 19, a decrease of 78,215 (or -21.1 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 58,477 (or -15.8 percent) from the previous week. There were 340,457 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

This is a good result — just not as good as the reported seasonally adjusted 284K number would indicate. It’s really the equivalent of about 295K.


UPDATE: Regarding the seasonal factors

“Initial jobless claims probably remained near the 300,000 mark as seasonal factors likely continued to misestimate actual claims activity during the July auto factory shutdown season,” said Citi’s Peter D’Antonio.

“We posit that filing have been artificially low, relative to the May-June average, reflecting in part the inability of the seasonal factors to account for two post-crisis trends in the auto sector: (1) the auto sector is much smaller, resulting in fewer hourly worker claims than before; and (2) many factories stay open in order to accommodate stronger demand. Separately, beneficiaries and the insured rate likely also remained low due to factory retooling period seasonal factor idiosyncrasies.”

Mr. D’Antonio’s argument would support this year’s seasonal factor being lower than last year. Instead, this week’s factor, as noted above, was higher than last year’s comparable week.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (072414)

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.


Your tax dollars at work destroying society from within — “Another Planned Parenthood Caught Promoting X-Rated Advice to Underage Girls.” The “advice” in the undercover video shot at a Planned Parenthood facility in Oregon includes “an undercover investigator, posing as a 15-year-old girl,” told about sexual game activities “including being hit, whipped, or tied to a tree, role-playing ‘the baby thing’ with her partner, (and) using handcuffs …”

It’s the third video in a series showing Planned Parenthood providing “Dangerous Sex Advice for Kids.”

The first video introduced viewers to the fact that Planned Parenthood, which “receives $500 million in taxpayer funding every year,” has produced videos and other materials promoting dehumanizing “BDSM” sexual practices. It shows an undercover person visiting the org’s Indianapolis, Indiana facility and getting “advice” on these and other matters of “kink.”

The second included “advice” on “how to experiment with sexual bondage/sadomasochism, including gagging, whipping, defecation, emulating pornography, and going to sex stores to ‘get educated.’ Footage was obtained by Live Action at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in Littleton and Lakewood, Colorado.”

Even more videos may be on the way.

The bigger picture — It might interest people to know that one of the defining characteristics of the disastrous failure known as Weimar Germany (1919-1933) was a deep descent into sexual decadence and depravity. Planned Parenthood’s open promotion of these things is a strong indicator that a far from insignificant portion of our society is already there.

Does anyone remember what followed the Weimar Republic in Germany?


Positivity: Religious liberty ‘fundamental’ to human dignity, bishops affirm

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Baltimore:

Jul 22, 2014 / 04:55 pm

In a recent interview with CNA, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore reaffirmed religious liberty as a priority for the U.S. bishops, emphasizing its relation to personal dignity and evangelization.

“Let me just say that religious liberty is so fundamental to the dignity of the human person,” Archbishop Lori stated, continuing that “anyone who is an impartial observer of the culture would say that in recent times, the challenges to religious liberty have accelerated.

Because of these situation, the archbishop said that the American bishops have dedicated themselves to upholding religious freedom, and will continue to discuss the “multifaceted challenges” faced by the Church.

Archbishop Lori noted that the right to religious liberty “is very much related to truth,” and “does not just depend on (the content of one’s) belief.”

“God gave us the gift of religious liberty so that we could sincerely seek the truth, and embrace it once we have found it.”

He added that “to attenuate religious liberty is to attenuate the search for truth. So that is the fundamental level at which we are committed to religious liberty.”

Archbishop Lori also discussed the “linguistic and philosophical gulfs between the teaching of the Church, and the culture,” because “there are those who think religious liberty is really a guise for some right to discriminate, that the Church or others are seeking. So, we have to break those things down, in our catechesis and our evangelization.”

The vast differences in philosophical outlook and in use of language, between the Church and the mainstream culture, are important for Church leaders to take into account, he said.

“For those who preach and teach, it’s important that we break down the language that we use into terms that are, in fact, preachable and teachable.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

July 23, 2014

Quote of the Day: On Halbig v. Burwell

Filed under: Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:50 pm

Sean Davis at the Federalist:

In 2010, Nancy Pelosi famously claimed that Congress needed to pass Obamacare in order to find out what’s in it. Well, a federal court just read Obamacare and found out what wasn’t in it: tax credit subsidies for federal exchange health plans.

A full DC circuit court failure to acknowledge this clear, irrefutable fact will mean that the rule of law is on death’s door.

If it gets to that, a Supreme Court failure to uphold Tuesday’s DC circuit court panel ruling will mean that the rule of law really is dead.


Press Ignores General Amos’s Criticism of U.S.’s Poor ‘Leadership’ and Inadequate ‘Courage’

It has been eight days since Marine Corps Commandant and Joint Chiefs of Staff member General James Amos spoke out against the current lack-of-leadership climate in Washington.

Specifically, in a question-and-answer session at the Brookings Institution on July 15 (PDF transcript here), Amos noted how badly the situation in Iraq has deteriorated since U.S. troops’ departure in 2010, and questioned whether it would have happened if there had been “the right leadership, the right mentoring, the right government and courage” in place. This was a de facto callout of the Obama administration for failing to consolidate and secure the victory achieved in 2008. If this kind of criticism occurred during a Republican or conservative administration, it would be front-page news. Instead, a Google News search on “Amos Iraq” (not in quotes) returns roughly 10 relevant items, and the Associated Press has nothing relevant. The video and a transcript of Megyn Kelly’s related interview of Oliver North Monday evening follow the jump (HT to a longtime emailer):



Yeah, Let’s News Entirely to the ‘Professionals’

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 1:21 pm

A real tweet from the Associated Press:


AP quickly clarified.


Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (072314)

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: Argentine national soccer team sends autographed jersey to Pope

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Jul 20, 2014 / 06:01 am

In a gesture of gratitude and affection, the Argentinean national soccer team, which lost Sunday to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, sent Pope Francis an official team jersey autographed by each of its players.

“Here’s the present the team sent to our Pope Francis!” team member Maxi Rodriguez said in a post on his Twitter account, which featured a photo of himself and team captain Lionel Messi holding the jersey.

The Holy See expressed thanks for the gift on Thursday, noting that although Argentina did not win the final, the team “acknowledged it had faith that the Pontiff would keep them in his thoughts throughout the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.”

During their stay in Brazil, the Argentine team kept a large photo of the players posing with Pope Francis on display at their training center in Belo Horizonte. The picture was taken last year when the Argentine team visited the pontiff while in Rome for a friendly match with Italy. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

July 22, 2014

Aww: Politico’s Glenn Thrush Doesn’t Like ‘Abortion Barbie’ Nickname For Wendy Davis

Politico reporters are badly burning themselves on Twitter these days.

Last night (as yours truly noted this afternoon), the web site’s Roger Simon, apparently upset that Rick Perry is doing his job, tweeted that the Texas governor is “sending 1,000 National Guard troops to border to shoot small children.” Yet 12 hours later, Glenn Thrush, another longtime Politico veteran, tweeted a plea for civility, begging people not to use a popular opponents’ nickname for Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis (HT RedState):