The initial estimate for 1st Quarter 2016 GDP came in at a lower-than-expected annualized rate of 0.5%. The GDP price index rose 0.7%.
The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rose 2 points to a still-negative -4.
Weekly initial jobless claims rose 9,000 to 257,000. The 4-week average fell 4,750 to 256,000, the lowest in 42 years. Continuing claims fell 5,000 to 2.130 million which is the lowest in 16 years.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.5 points to 43.4.
The Fed’s balance sheet fell $15.5 billion last week, with total assets of $4.475 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-7.0 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $16.1 billion in the latest week.
Yesterday, the Shark said: “Every time I think we’ve reached peak stupid, something new comes along to prove me wrong.” Well, to prove Shark’s point, I found this:
The Second Amendment is highly contested. There is no doubt that people do have the right to carry and have a stockpile of guns (“the right of the people to keep and bear arms”) and a state has the right to organize a well-regulated Militia. But, the main issue is on the right to self-defend with a firearm.
The main problem with the notion of self-defense is it imposes on justice, for everyone has the right for a fair trial. Therefore, using a firearm to defend oneself is not legal because if the attacker is killed, he or she is devoid of his or her rights.
To say this is probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read would be an understatement. It is certainly an indicator of how far the left will go in it’s “reasoning” to deny you the use of a gun and your basic right to self-defense. I said “basic” but self-defense is indeed an inherent right. You need no one’s permission to exercise it because you own your life and without protecting it, you would obviously cease to exist.
That apparently is lost on this statist rube. Let’s lay this out a little differently. This Huffington Post writer is attempting to persuade you that a civil right (an actual societal construct applicable only to a particular society) is somehow superior to an inherent right (a right that is yours without anyone or anything granting it. It is your existence and its requirements for survival that “grant” it. The right is applicable to all mankind without exception. It can be violated, but it can’t be taken away.). We have an idiot here who claims that if you defend yourself your action “imposes on justice”?
Wtf? Your action, especially if you successfully defend yourself, IS justice! And how you do it or with what is irrelevant! Gun? Knife? Crowbar? Throat punch? Each and every one of those may “impose on justice”, as he defines it and is your right. But this dolt tries to sell that as a primary reason to restrict the ownership of guns. Only cops should have guns and you should defer your “self-defense” to them!
This is a person that has no concept of inherent rights, what they mean and why they’re necessary. So he writes slop like this! And it gets worse as his “reasoning” stays in the ditch and hits a concrete culvert several times. No airbags deployed because his ideas weren’t worth spit to begin with and certainly not worth saving.
So Shark … suck it up bud. We’re not even close to “peak” stupidity. The stupid machine keeps on churning and the manure keeps on plopping out.
Stating that the economy “appears to have slowed” and household spending has moderated, The Federal Open Markets Committee left short-term interest rates unchanged, with a Fed Funds target rate of 0.25-0.50%.
The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index rose 1.4% in March to 110.5.
March’s international trade deficit narrowed by a sharp -9.5% to $-56.9 billion, with exports down -1.7%, and imports plunging by -4.4%. Consumer goods imports fell -9.1%, indicating decreasing consumer demand.
The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell -4.1% last week, with purchases down -2.0% and refis down -5.0%.
Still fascinated by all of this. This mossy little sub-culture that suddenly sprouted all these oversensitive and whiny little crybabies in the one institution where they ought to be trying on their big boy and girl pants fascinates me. Kind of like a bacteria culture fascinates a bacteriologist. And besides, what’s to say about Trump and Clinton? A con man and a crook are likely to be the nominees, brought to you by … “democracy”.
Anyway, now, apparently, there is hell to be paid at the University of Washington because the “cheer team” (what we used to call “cheerleaders”) offended some of the overweight and pasty womyn who populate gender and feminist studies. They apparently had the gall to notify those who were interested in the “cheer team” what was expected.
Cheerleaders, it turns out, are expected to have a certain look.
“U-Dub” students (hey, that’s just one letter away from U Dumb!) were unloading on social media, crying to counselors and fleeing to safe spaces after the cheer team posted an infographic describing the look to strive for if you’re planning to try out for the squad. (In the routinely craven manner of all universities, the UW spirit program ordered the graphic removed and called in nine tons of smelling salts for those affected.)
I repeat: The graphic was aimed only at young women seeking to be cheerleaders. Pasty-faced Womyn’s Struggles majors attending rallies in shapeless sweatshirts, and black-clad Emily Dickinson fans emoting agonized coffeehouse verse were not the target audience.
So, the graphic apparently “offended” the “uninterested” (i.e. those who had no intention of joining the cheer team but had no problem whatsoever passing judgement on their methods) to the point that they became interested because …
“I can’t believe this is real,” Jazmine Perez, the student government’s director of programming told the Seattle Times. “One of the first things that comes to mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty,” she harrumphed.
Signe Burchim, a UW senior, added, “I think it’s really upsetting and kind of disheartening the way it’s basically asking these women who want to try out to perform their femininity — but not too much.” She said men would never be subjected to such a message while trying out for a sport.
The worldly Signe Burchim, UW senior, and person with so much knowledge of what goes on out in the real world absolutely and positively knows this to be a fact … well, according to her woman studies prof. Men are never asked to meet the standards of some group or team they would like to join (I assume there are men on the “cheer team”). Ever.
As for Ms. Perez and her attempt to make this about race, sorry, a swing and a miss. As the NY Post points out:
Contrary to Ms. Perez — who reminds us that college is a place where you pay $50,000 a year to unlearn the obvious — female beauty standards like facial symmetry and waist-hip ratio are pretty much universal. But here’s the thing she missed: The graphic made no demand that cheerleaders be pretty. Everything illustrated has to do with styling and presentation, not your actual attractiveness. And no, it isn’t racist: Race is nowhere mentioned or implied.
Tailoring your look to a group’s standards is how almost everything works. You don’t show up to play baseball in a scuba suit. You don’t show up for a business meeting in board shorts and flip-flops, unless you work in Silicon Valley, in which case you don’t show up in a tie and wingtips. And you don’t wear Goth makeup, “Born To Be Bad” tats and fishnet tights to a cheerleading tryout — unless you’re doing a performance art piece, which might actually be funny.
If you want to be a cheerleader, your hair should have “volume” and your eyelashes should be “false,” because that’s how cheerleaders roll. You don’t like it? Fine, do what everyone who feels the same way has been doing for decades: Sit in the bleachers, roll your eyes, make snarky jokes and stew in your jealousy.
But hey, these precious snowflakes have learned that almost anything that doesn’t make them feel happy is likely to have something to do with the patriarchy, racism, sexism, miscegenation, white privilege or some other yet to be identified shortcoming of the dominant culture. Don’t believe they learn it at school? Check out this email from a professor at the University of Missouri before it all went in the ditch:
Dr. Tim Evans, an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathology, writes to his colleagues: “I applaud the support provided to our protesting students who, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with them, are using what they have learned in the classroom and putting it to practice.”
If what Dr. Evans says is true, what a profound disservice the faculties of these schools are doing to their students. As I’ve said any number of times, they’re letting the inmates run the asylum, and make no mistake, given the level of this sort of nonsense now ongoing at various schools, they more closely resemble asylums than they do institutions of higher learning.
But there’s a backlash building and the University of Missouri is only the tip of that iceberg. Parents recognized the inmates were in charge and pulled their kids or decided against sending them to that university. Money talks, SJW BS walks.
It is indeed going to be both fascinating and entertaining watching how this all finally sorts itself out. But I can’t at all help observe it all with glee as the very people who taught and enabled this generation of whiners and crybabies are the first it consumes.
Durable goods orders rose 0.8% in March, though orders are still down -2.5% on a year-over-year basis. Also, ex-transporation orders fell -0.2%, while capital goods orders were unchanged.
Case-Shiller’s home price index rose 0.7% in February, and is up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis.
The PMI Services Flash for April rose 1.1 points to 52.1.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell -2.0 points to 96.2 in April.
The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index fell -8 points to 14 in April.
Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales growth rose slightly to 0.8% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 0.5%.
It isn’t like you have to go back ages in history to see governing models that don’t work. The recent end of the Cold War provided perfect examples. But they collapsed in the ’80s and our younger generation has no memory of the hardships the people of those countries suffered under socialist totalitarian rule. They also give indications that they think government is the solution for all our problems instead of understanding that for the most part government is responsible for many of our problems. It seems they think that if we just had big government, everything would be lovely.
The “Feel the Bern” crowd are enamored with “social democracy”. They like to point to Europe and pretend that the system is a desirable one. But instead of pointing to Europe, perhaps they should cast their eyes to the south – to Venezuela. They might find it, oh, I don’t know, enlightening:
In 1999, Venezuela was taken over by Socialist who promised that he would punish big corporations and redistribute wealth to “the people” to provide health care, education, infrastructure, and even out income inequality. (Sound familiar?) The American Left cheered. Celebrities like Sean Penn and Danny Glover praised his Democratic Socialist economic measures. Chavez systematically nationalized the oil, banking, agricultural, food distribution, telecommunications, and power industries in Venezuela; because running them as social democratic communes would eliminate “greed” and give the people lower cost goods and services. The American Left praised him for “democratizing” the Venezuelan economy. When Chavez shut down opposition TV, radio, and newspapers the American Left defended it as necessary to protect the Revolution.
The American Left likes to pretend now that Venezuela isn’t a real example of Social Democracy; but up until the economy collapsed (as every sensible person knew it would) they were Chavez’s biggest cheerleaders, as the links above (or any Google search) shows.
It is, of course, a horrific example of a socialist takeover, but a typical one. A once well-off country with the most proven oil reserves in the world reduced to literal poverty. Food shortages, other commodity shortages, you name it, you can’t get it there. Oh, and about those oil reserves? Well it seems that Venezuela has an energy crisis. And the government’s solution? Well it said everyone should take Fridays off (yeah, screw productivity – that’s a capitalist construct) and this bit of brilliance:
Last week, his government said it was shifting its time zone forward by 30 minutes to save power by adding half an hour of daylight.
Socialism … in Venezuela’s case they’re actually feeling the burn.
Then there is Brazil. Brazil is the lover of “big governments” wet dream. Or as it has now become, a nightmare. Brazil is a failing state and the primary reason that it is failing is because of the premise under which it has operated for decades. Big government paternalism:
For all its modernist appeal, it was one more expression of the country’s long and troubled attachment to the concept of a giant paternalistic state, responsible for managing the affairs of the entire society, from its biggest companies to its poorest citizens.
“The problem is, from time immemorial, Brazil’s political leaders only see one way forward, the growth of the state,” said Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a former leftist intellectual who sought to reduce the size of Brazil’s government while president from 1995 to 2002. “But you need another springboard for progress, that doesn’t exclude the state but that accepts markets. This just doesn’t sink in in Brazil.”
Many wan’t to blame Brazil’s problems on corruption like the corruption scandal now rocking the nation. But the corruption arises from the base problem … big, unanswerable government:
While many observers of Brazil’s predicament have focused on the country’s corruption, that may miss the point. Brazil’s deeper problem lies in the failures of its Leviathan state, which has perennially reached for the utopian visions embodied in Brasília but instead has produced recurring cycles of boom and dramatic bust.
Of course there a huge lessons to be learned from these two countries that apply to this country and the current political arguments now being made. All, to some degree or another (with Socialist Sanders being the extreme) argue for both social democracy and bigger government. We apparently don’t learn from other countries but insist on learning the hard way, by repeating what has already failed any number of times.
That’s because of arrogance and the belief that the only reason any of this hasn’t worked in the past is the right people weren’t in charge.
With the class of politicians we have running today, Hugo Chavez would be a better choice to run their ideas.
And we all know how well he did.
New home sales came in at an annualized rate of 511,000 in March, at the low end of expectations. Year-over-year sales are up 5.4%.
The Dallas Fed Manufacturing survey fell -0.3 points to -13.9. The orders index, however, rose from 3.3 to 5.8, so the future looks brighter.
Is it Friday already? A tip of the hat to Ott Scerb – nice to see him back in action.
So, a CEO has written a little guide for the special snowflakes that inhabit many of our colleges and universities. He gives them 5 points they need to learn before they leave their “safe spaces”. Below is number 1:
To all those of you looking for your “safe place,” I have to wonder: How the hell do you walk out of your dorm (or your parents’ basement) without getting hit by a bus every day?
So on behalf of CEO’s across the country, I’d like to share with you a few lessons that you might want to learn before graduation.
1. The Business World Doesn’t Give A Damn About You
No, really – it’s true. You saw something on the internet that you found offensive? You’ve got the sniffles? Your boyfriend broke up with you? Well, that sucks. Deal with it. I expect you to get your work done on time. Hit traffic that made you late for the fourth time this week? You should have learned after the first time that you needed to leave your house early.
Listen, even the best bosses have their breaking points. Excuses might fly in college, but they’re NOT going to fly when we’re paying you to actually get things done.
I liked this one because it says what they don’t seem to realize yet. In the big, wide world, they’re essentially unimportant. And only good work can make them important to any company. Start the crap they’ve started at school and they can find themselves in the unemployment line very quickly. Read the rest here. [link fixed]
Speaking of the Special Snowflakes, aka The New Red Guard, here they are trying to get something for nothing again claiming racism and bias at Harvard Law School:
“A group of Harvard Law School activists are demanding the graduate school do away with tuition fees, which they argue are “racially biased.”
Members of the group Reclaim Harvard Law School published an open letter Sunday addressed to Law School Dean Martha L. Minow and members of the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — demanding an end to tuition costs that they argue impose an unfair financial burden on students of color, The Harvard Crimson reported.
Tuition at the law school will rise to $59,550 for the 2016-2017 academic year, and students are graduating with an average of $149,754 in debt, according to the law school’s website. Reclaim Harvard Law called the trend “outrageous” and asserted, “as a matter of justice, education should be free.”
“The effects of HLS’ astronomical tuition fees are racially biased,” the group wrote in their letter. “Due to the legacy of centuries of white supremacy and plunder, people of color are less likely to have amassed wealth in the United States. Therefore, these fees disproportionately burden students of color, not only by creating a barrier to attending HLS, but also by constraining the career choices of those who do attend by saddling them with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. How can Harvard Law graduates be expected to advance justice or the well-being of society when they are forced to make career decisions based on paying off this burdensome debt?”
The group did not provide any proposals on how Harvard Law School could feasibly do away with tuition, saying, “answering this is the very job we are paying extraordinary amounts of money for them to do.”
I suppose it never occurs to them that they are among the elite who have been chosen to be members of a particular Harvard Law class and that this seems to most to be exactly what it appears – a horribly obvious attempt to use emotion as an argument to get others to pay for your education. Makes you wonder how good they’ll ever be as lawyers.
One of the things climate alarmists seem to be spectacularly unaware of is how spectacularly poor their “scientific” track record is. For instance:
Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”
Of course, now it’s warming and carbon dioxide. In both cases, not only is the science far from settled, it seems to be spectacularly wrong again. At least when Watt talked about a new Ice Age it had actually been getting cooler for 20 years. That was enough for them then. But the fact that it hasn’t warmed at all in 20 years? Yeah, not significant. Funny stuff. Expensive if they get their way, but then as mad as the world has become and with the pending signing of the Paris accords, the excuse to get into your wallet is there, science or no science.
Alarmism is a cottage industry and now that the politicians are involved, it is a cottage industry to pays well.
In answer to the absurd bathroom controversy that seems to be brewing up everywhere, the retail giant Target put out this press release:
We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.
In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
We regularly assess issues and consider many factors such as impact to our business, guests and team members. Given the specific questions these legislative proposals raised about how we manage our fitting rooms and restrooms, we felt it was important to state our position.
Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.
I guess you can find idiots in every walk of life, even among those who run retail giants. Tell me, Target, if, in the name of inclusion you end up excluding the desires of the majority of your customer base, how much good will do you think your stance on this sort of nonsense inclusion will buy you.
Considering that, I just became a ex-customer of Target. That sort of absurd nonsense does not make me feel “accepted”, certainly not “respected” and anything but “welcomed”. My “feelings” obviously mean nothing to you. Target, you are pandering, and you’re ignoring your customer base. Social engineering isn’t a retail responsibility. Giving your customers what they want is.
Maybe they’ll figure it out. And maybe they’ll figure out that if you wish to accommodate a minority that “feels” a certain way about themselves, perhaps a single restroom that is “gender neutral” is the answer, and not having them force themselves into dressing areas and restrooms where their natural equipment says they shouldn’t be. This isn’t rocket science, but it appears to be for the ignoramuses at Target.
Curt Schilling was fired by ESPN on Wednesday, for expressing an opinion online earlier in the week which just happens to be the view held by the vast majority of the American people. Earlier this week, Schilling posted a picture of a transgender person, and made a comment regarding the effort to let transgender men use women’s restrooms.
“A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”
He’s absolutely right … it is pathetic.
What’s even more pathetic is that Schilling has to hold a certain point of view, apparently, to continue to hold his job. Well, that’s “inclusive” isn’t it? Bye bye ESPN. I thought you were a “sports network”. Apparently you’re an politically correct social engineering network and something I just don’t need in my life.
Finally a bit of good news. Last week I reported that Florida had essentially done away with civil forfeiture and I gave them kudos for dumping that unconstitutional form of stealing by police (illegal search and seizure). Well, Nebraska earns those kudos this week:
The newly signed law provides sweeping reforms. First and foremost, Nebraska now requires a criminal conviction to forfeit property. The accused must be convicted of an offense involving illegal drugs, child pornography or illegal gambling to lose their cash, vehicles, firearms or real estate. Nebraska joins just nine other states that require a criminal conviction as a prerequisite for most or all forfeiture cases.
Way to go, NE.
Hope you all have a happy and safe weekend!
The Philadelphia Fed survey plunged from 12.4 to -1.6 in April, returning to it’s long run of negative readings.
The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index worsened to -0.44 from -0.29. The 3-month average fell from -0.07 to -0.18.
The Conference Board’s index of Leading Indicators rose 0.1% to 0.2% in March.
The FHFA house price index rose 0.4% in February, while the year-on-year rate fell sharply to 5.6% from 6.0%.
Initial weekly jobless claims fell 6,000 to 247,000. The 4-week average fell 4,500 to 260,500. Continuing claims fell 39,000 to 2.127 million.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.7 points to 42.9 in the latest week.
The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-9.6 billion last week, with total assets of $4.490 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $3.7 billion.
The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $0.5 billion in the latest week.