Free Markets, Free People

Dale Franks

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Economic Statistics for 19 Aug 15

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1% in July, at both the headline and core level. On a year-over-year basis, the CPI is up 2.0% at the headline level, and up 1.9% less food and energy.

July housing starts jumped 15.7%, to a 1.093 million annual rate.

ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales fell -1.3%, but were up a strong 3.8%% on a year-over-year basis. Redbook, meanwhile, reports a slowing to 3.7% in retail sales over last year, compared to 4.8% last week.


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Economic Statistics for 15 Aug 14

The Producer Price Index for total final demand slowed to  0.1% in July. Prices excluding food & energy rose 0.2%. Prices excluding food, energy, and trade services increased 0.2%. Prices for goods were unchanged, while services rose 0.1%. On a seasonally adjusted year-ago basis, PPI final demand was up 1.7 %. Excluding food & energy, PPI final demand was up 1.6%.

The New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey fell to 14.69 in August vs. 25.60 in July.

Net foreign demand for long-term U.S. securities fell to $-30.2 billion in June. Foreign accounts were heavy sellers of Treasuries and corporate bonds.

Industrial production in July rose 0.4%, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories rose 0.1% to 79.2%.

The Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index in August fell -2.6 points to 79.2.

E-commerce sales rose a very sharp 4.9% in the second quarter of 2014, compared to 3.3% in the first quarter.


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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 15 Aug 14

On this week’s podcast, Michael tweets a Lefty, and Dale watches a Mustang video.

The podcast can be heard in different ways:

  1.  Play on Stitcher. (Please remember the feed may take a couple of hours to update after this is first posted.)
  2. Direct link to the MP3 file.
  3. RSS reader via the is podcast RSS Feed.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Stitcher.

Prof. Erb feels put upon

Scott Erb commented in Bruce’s post, which is aptly titled, “Delusional”. Speaking of delusional, here is Prof. Erb’s comment. Ready it slowly. Caress it with your mind. Savor the overweening self-righteousness of it before I respond:

Apparently you choose to delete my replies rather than post them.  Not surprising.  You know I’m right and have predicted all this, and you aren’t honorable enough to post those statements.  OK – you’ll delete this too, I’m sure.  That proves to me that you know I’ve been right, and you’re too scared, chicken and dishonest to allow it on your website.  Thank God you don’t have the responsibility to teach or impact the next generation.  By deleting my posts you prove that you’re scared of the truth.   I pity you, but know that you’re passing – your way of thinking is of the past, and will soon be gone.  My way of thinking is winning the cultural war.  And you know it!  Thank you for admitting defeat by deleting my responses.  You’re scared of the truth!  It’s very satisfying that you decided to delete – that proves to me you know I’m right!  :-)

This is a serious accusation, and, as such, deserves a front-page response.

Dear Prof. Erb;

Delete this comment? Oh, no, I have no intention of doing that. Indeed, I am putting it out where everyone can see it.

In case you haven’t been reading the blog, we had to transfer the web site to a different hosting plan. I’ve been writing about it since Friday.

This transfer process means that the WordPress MySQL database containing all the content has to be exported. After that, the domain has to be transferred from the old IP Address to the new one, which starts the  process of propagating the server change to the Internet, worldwide, through the DNS system. As a result of this unavoidably lengthy process, several hours pass between the time the site content’s database is copied over and users are directed to the new web site. A lot of people who commented during this process also lost their comments, because those comments didn’t exist when the database was transferred to a new server. I left a post (still available until sometime tonight) at the top of the old site yesterday warning that this would happen. So, sadly, you’ll have to temper your satisfaction with the the knowledge that you were not, in fact, the victim of a nefarious scheme. I didn’t even know you had commented, and the loss of your–and everyone else’s–comments after yesterday morning was due entirely to the timing issues inherent in transferring an existing database-driven web site to a new web hosting system.

The truth is that neither Bruce nor I care enough about your turgid literary ejaculations to take the effort of going into the admin section, finding them, and deleting them. If either of us really cared about your doltish ramblings and their <sarcasm>devastating effects</sarcasm>, we’d simply ban you from commenting. That takes even less trouble than finding and deleting your moronic screeds, and we don’t even care enough about you to do that.  Why would you possibly think that, after years of freely allowing you to infest the comments section, we would pick those particular comments to delete? Perhaps you felt that they shone with particularly blinding beacons of your brilliance, to which our only possible response could be to delete them, before the shining rays of your genius corrupted our entire weltanschauung. If so, it must be particularly irksome to know that your uniquely gifted wisdom was lost due to unavoidable technical issues. Perhaps you should consult a professional about these feelings of persecution, though. Failing that, you might simply get over yourself.

Oh, and as a professor of business at an accredited, non-profit, 4-year university, I do, In fact, “teach or impact the next generation.”  Indeed, I have been employed in formal classroom instruction and curriculum development in the military, government, private industry, and academia since 1987. So, sadly, your academic superiority trump card, pathetic as it is, is certainly not applicable to me. Think of it: every term I have a new crop of students to “teach or impact”, as I toil away in the fields of academe. Where is your God now?

Your comments above amply demonstrate the monumentally smug self-regard and intellectual imperviousness to reality that causes so many of our commenters to react badly to you. Certainly, it usually causes me to spurn you as I would spurn a rabid dog. Happily, the self-importance and ignorance of your comment, coupled with its wildly inaccurate allegations, made it too precious to ignore. I would even go so far as to call it “classic Erb” in its grandiose wrongness in every material aspect.

By the way, why are you commenting here? I’m pretty sure you promised to go away and never come back a while ago. A man should keep his word. Anyway, if you had a shred of decency, and something more than a Rain Man-like grasp of human interaction, you’d apologize abjectly to me for this unfounded accusation.


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Economic Statistics for 14-15 Aug 13

I missed yesterday’s stats, since I was building the new site. So, let’s catch up.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -2.7% last week. Purchases were down -1.0% and re-fis fell -4.0%.

July retail sales were unchanged in July. retail sales less autos, and retail sales less autos and gas both rose 0.1%.

The Atlanta Fed’s Business Inflation Expectations survey for July reports businesses expect unit costs to rise 2.0% in the next 12 months.

June business inventories rose 0.4%, but a weaker 0.3% sales increase left the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.29.

Weekly initial jobless claims rose 21,000 to 311,000. The 4-week average rose 2,250 to 295,750. Continuing claims rose 25,000 to 2.544 million.

Import prices fell -0.2% in July, while export prices were unchanged. On a year-over-year basis, import prices rose 1.0% while export prices rose 0.4%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose for the first time in three weeks, up 0.6 points to 36.8 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $21.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.432 trillion. Total reserve bank credit rose by $11.5 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply shrank by $-34.4 billion in the latest week.


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QandO is Alive

Welcome to the new QandO. The old site has passed away, and , with it, many maintenance headaches. For you, the user, the site should operate much faster, thanks to being transferred to a modern server, using modern technology.

Enjoy.

Also…first post!

Style Evolves

So, since we’re making changes, I thought I’d start with the blog theme. This new theme uses flat design, which all the kids are raving about now. It also implements responsive design, so, if you’re on a mobile device, you’ll no longer see the Apple Touch mobile theme. Now you’ll see the current blog template, which will happily reformat itself for your phone or tablet viewport.

You’re welcome.


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Economic Statistics for 12 Aug 14

The NFIB small business optimism index rose 0.7 points in July to 95.7.

The government’s budget deficit, as of the end of July, is running 24% below last year, at $460.5 billion vs. $607.4 billion.

ICSC-Goldman reports weekly retail sales down -1.4%, and were up only 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. Conversely, Redbook reports a strong 4.8% increase in retail sales over last year.


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