December 16, 2017

Ed Asner in Salon: ‘The U.S. Was Actually Founded on Gun Control’

In a late Saturday morning column, wannabe constitutional scholars Ed Asner and Ed. Weinberger (yes, there’s a period after his first name) weighed in on the Founders’ intent relating to citizens’ right to bear arms. Asner and Weinberger, an actor and a comedy joke and script writer, respectively, in real life, deigned to tell us that the Second Amendment was really a gun control measure designed to keep guns out of the hands of anyone who wasn’t a member of a militia.



Contributing Editor at The Nation on Russia and 2016 Election: ‘I’ve Never Seen Media Malpractice Like This’

On Friday, Fox News's Tucker Carlson interviewed Stephen F. Cohen, a contributing editor at The Nation. Cohen sharply criticized coverage at the Washington Post and the New York Times, and more generally stated that he has "never seen media malpractice" like the establishment press's year-long effort to breathe life into what he insists has been a completely ginned-up claim that Russia tried to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Given that it has leaned hard-left during its entire existence, it might stun readers here to know that Cohen, who is married to magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, strongly believes, based on what he claims is his own extensive research, that there is no evidence of Russian U.S election influence.



USA Today Reporter Falsely Claims NLRB Is Overturning ‘Worker-Friendly’ Rules

USA Today reporter Paul Davidson apparently doesn’t understand that policies which help workers get hired and keep their jobs are more “worker-friendly” than those designed to line trial lawyers’ pockets and help labor unions coerce companies into dealing with them. At least twice this year, Davidson, in his headlines and his content, has characterized moves by the federal government’s National Labor Relations Board which have restored predictable economic order as “overturning” Obama-era regulations which were supposedly “worker-friendly,” but really weren’t.



Here is Reuters’ Definition of ‘Far-Right’

As Austria is putting together a coalition government, the wire service paraphrased the policies favored by the head of the Freedom Party, which it describes as “far-right”:

Kurz, who at 31 is Europe’s youngest leader, told reporters on Friday his government’s focus would be on cutting taxes and security, including fighting illegal immigration.

Obviously, the reference should be to “improving security.”

In other words, at Reuters, “far-right” = common sense.


Positivity: Shasta County, California DA’s office finds four shootings were in self-defense

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Positivity — Tom @ 10:00 am

Yes, it’s good news that bad guys were stopped and good people with guns lived. The article in question has been copied in full below so we all can have a handy reference when gun-grabbers try to claim that self-defense shootings rarely or never happen.



Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121617)

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.

December 15, 2017

Barely News: Donut-Driven $1 Million Corruption Arrest of Democrat Legislator in Massachusetts

Former Massachusetts State Senator Brian Joyce was arrested a week ago and charged with accepting over $1 million in bribes. The story is getting very little coverage outside of New England, even though Joyce was quite creative in the forms of bribery he accepted, and even though Joyce’s arrest continues long trend of corruption among Bay State Democratic Party legislative leaders and politicians.



Ex-FBI Asst. Director on Strzok: He ‘Belongs in Leavenworth’

As of Wednesday evening, as Nicholas Fondacaro at NewsBusters observed, the Big Three broadcasting networks were not reporting the content of the most damning text messages exchanged between now-former Robert Mueller investigative team members Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page. Meanwhile, coverage seen Wednesday evening at the Associated Press predictably treated the matter as a Republicans-attack dispute. Almost no one seems to be interested in hearing from what other veteran or former FBI officials think about the Mueller team’s and Bureau leadership’s conduct. One exception is Elizabeth MacDonald at the Fox Business network, who interviewed former FBI Assistant Director Jim Kallstrom on Thursday’s Risk and Reward show.



November 2017 Industrial Production: +0.2 Percent; October Revised Up From +0.9 Percent to 1.2 Percent; 12-Month Increase Greater Than Previous Four Years

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

I haven’t paid as much attention to this report as I should have this year, which is too bad, because the news in 2017 has been pretty good, especially compared to the previous four years.

Here’s today’s news (bolds are mine):

Industrial production moved up 0.2 percent in November after posting an upwardly revised increase of 1.2 percent in October. Manufacturing production also rose 0.2 percent in November, its third consecutive monthly gain. The output of utilities dropped 1.9 percent. The index for mining increased 2.0 percent, as oil and gas extraction returned to normal levels after being held down in October by Hurricane Nate.

Excluding the post-hurricane rebound in oil and gas extraction, total industrial production would have been unchanged in November. Total industrial production was 106.4 percent of its 2012 average in November and was 3.4 percent above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector was 77.1 percent in November, a rate that is 2.8 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2016) average.

That October revision to 1.2 percent was up from the previous estimate of 0.9 percent. Pre-October month revisions netted out to -0.1 points.

The second bolded sentence above is especially revealing. What it tells us is that there was more of an increase in industrial production during the past 12 months (3.4 percent) than there was during the final four years of the Obama administration (3.0 percent increase from the 2012 average through November 2016, i.e., 6.4 percent minus 3.4 percent).

The three index components are all up in the past 12 months: Manufacturing by 2.4 percent, Mining by 9.4 percent, and Utilities by 2.3 percent.


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121517)

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: Couple — Our Child Wouldn’t Be Here Today if a Pro-Life Person Wasn’t Outside the Abortion Clinic

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

From Tennessee, via Life News:

DEC 14, 2017, 7:48PM

Kirk Barker and his wife, Chass, know that their son would not be alive today if a pro-life advocate had not been outside their local abortion facility 15 years ago.

Abortion activists try to dismiss pro-life sidewalk counselors with claims that they are ineffective, at best, and hateful, at worst. But the Tennessee father – and many others like his family – credit pro-life volunteers for providing them with the encouragement they needed to choose life for their babies.

“It was your prayers that helped save our son,” Barker said. “Words can never express our gratitude for what you have done. Let the words of this message be a constant reminder of the great work that you do, to be a reminder that you made a difference.”

The Christian Institute reports Chass Barker’s doctor urged her to abort her unborn son after she was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.

“We trusted him. We took the doctor for his word,” Kirk Barker said. “We made an (abortion) appointment that day.”

Here’s more from the report:

However, on the day the abortion was due to take place, they encountered a pro-life supporter outside the clinic who prayed for them and asked them to reconsider.

Barker’s wife subsequently decided she could not go through with the abortion and they walked out of the clinic.

She went on to give birth to their son, who is now 15 years old.

“Right before we signed what we call ‘the death certificate to our son,’ God intervened,” Barker said, previously in an interview with Pregnancy Help News. “My wife looked at me, and said, ‘I don’t care if I die, I’m not going to kill our son,’” Kirk said. “We got up and walked out. I was very happy to leave that place and not go through with the procedure.”

Cameron turned 15 in September. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 14, 2017

Adam Schiff, Unchallenged on CNN: Where Are the Anti-Hillary Texts?

In a Thursday interview with Wolf Blitzer, Democrat Adam Schiff inanely wondered why only anti-Donald Trump texts and no anti-Hillary Clinton texts from Robert Mueller’s partisan Democrat-dominated investigative team have been presented to Congress. Naturally, Schiff engaged in this pathetic misdirection on CNN, where he was confident he wouldn’t be challenged — and he wasn’t.



November Retail Sales Up 0.8 Percent; October Revised Up to 0.5 Percent; Past 4 Months Have Averaged +0.8 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:49 pm

From the Census Bureau:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November 2017, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $492.7 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, and 5.8 percent (±0.7 percent) above November 2016. Total sales for the September 2017 through November 2017 period were up 5.2 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The September 2017 to October 2017 percent change was revised from up 0.2 percent (±0.5 percent)* to up 0.5 percent (±0.2 percent).

Expectations were for +0.3 percent in November.

These are very strong numbers.

As seen here, increases during the past four months, which includes the months of this year’s late-summer hurricanes, have totaled 3.2 percent. That’s a monthly average of +0.8 percent. The last time we saw four months with a combined 3.2 percent or more was February thru May of 2014.

Next month, August hurricane-influence -0.1 percent drops off, possibly presaging a four-month total of 4.0 percent, or a monthly average of 1.0 percent — something which has occurred only 4 times in the 26 years of presented at the Census Bureau’s website.


UPDATE: Zero Hedge notes that the November’s 5.8 percent increase over November 2016 is the largest such increase since March of 2012.

UPDATE 2: For the record, here is how the original announcements and the data currently in the bureau’s report database compare for the first ten months of this year:

- January — originally +0.4 percent, now +0.5 percent (+0.1-point change)
- February — orig +0.1, now -0.2 (-0.3-point change)
- March — orig -0.2, now +0.1 (+0.3-point change)
- April — orig +0.4, now +0.3 (-0.1-point change)
- May — orig -0.3, now 0.0 (+0.3-point change)
- June — orig -0.2, now -0.1 (+0.1-point change)
- July — orig +0.6, now +0.5 (-0.1-point change)
- August — orig -0.2, now +0.1 (+0.3-point change)
- September — orig +1.6, now +2.0 (+0.4-point change)
- October — orig +0.2, now +0.5 (+0.3-point change)

There have been three downward revisions cumulatively totaling 0.5 points. There have been seven upward revisions totaling 1.8 points, including the most recent three in a row totaling 1.0 points.

These misses may not seem like much, but the originals only total 3.0 points, while the numbers as currently revised total 4.3 points. That’s the difference between barely above mediocre and relatively good.

UPDATE 3: Fans of looking at the raw, not seasonally adjusted numbers should note that retail sales in the past four months are up by just a bit less than 5 percent compared to the same four months in 2016.


AP Treats Wisconsin’s Abusive John Doe Investigation As Just Another ‘Partisan’ Spat

NOTE: This post updates and replaces a post which appeared on December 12.


Last week, Wisconsin’s Attorney General issued a report recommending contempt charges against six former workers at the state’s now-defunct Government Accountability Board and three employees in the Milwaukee County prosecutor’s office for their involvement in or knowledge of illegal and criminal leaks of GAB documents relating to what has become known as the “John Doe” investigation of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The Associated Press’s Scott Bauer, whose animosity towards Walker and Republicans has been obvious for nearly seven years, has been busy downplaying the matter as just another “partisan” dispute while making false claims about the nature of the investigation and the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling which halted it.



Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121417)

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.