Consumer confidence hit a six-year high in July, a widely watched gauge of sentiment showed on Tuesday, as Americans shrugged off falling home prices to focus on a healthy jobs market, instead.
The New York-based Conference Board said that its Consumer Confidence Index, rebounded to 112.6, its highest level since August 2001 when it recorded a 114.0 reading. That compared to a revised 105.3 in June. The July 24 cutoff for the preliminary survey of 5,000 U.S. households was before last week's stock market tumble, however.
It has to. A six-year high is bad enough; we surely can't afford to let the index get to an 8-year high, or someone might get the mistaken idea that the current economy is as good as or (heaven forbid) even better than the Golden Age of the 1990s (even though by a couple of respected measures it is).
In a time where we have movies and television shows which routinely ridicule Christianity, atheism, Judaism, and more, why is it that we don't see similar attempts at parodying or debunking Islam? Christopher Hitchens:
Before me is a recent report that a student at Pace University in New York City has been arrested for a hate crime in consequence of an alleged dumping of the Quran. Nothing repels me more than the burning or desecration of books, and if, for example, this was a volume from a public or university library, I would hope that its mistreatment would constitute a misdemeanor at the very least. But if I choose to spit on a copy of the writings of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx or James Joyce, that is entirely my business. When I check into a hotel room and send my free and unsolicited copy of the Gideon Bible or the Book of Mormon spinning out of the window, I infringe no law, except perhaps the one concerning litter. Why do we not make this distinction in the case of the Quran? We do so simply out of fear, and because the fanatical believers in that particular holy book have proved time and again that they mean business when it comes to intimidation.
As noted here at NB yesterday, Kansas Congresswoman Nancy Boyda walked out of a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Friday after hearing General Jack Keane testify about the potential impact of a bill meant to micromanage troop deployment. Keane also testified about progress being made in the counteroffensive that has come to be known as "the surge."
Boyda walked out because the objections to that bill, and the descriptions of an improving situation in Iraq, were apparently too much to bear. She said as much when she returned. Boyda and the fly in her pocket (based on her several references to "we") went into full-rant mode (painfully long and slow-loading audio is here; scroll down to July 27's entry and click on "Audio Transcript"; Boyda's tantrum is about 60% of the way through it; also note that at least a half-dozen hecklers and demonstrators had to be removed during the hearing):
"..... As many of us, there was only so much that you could take until we, in fact, had to leave the room for a while, and so I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things that after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to."
"But let me just first say that the description of Iraq as if some way or another that it's a place that I might take the family for a vacation, things are going so well, those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying here’s the reality of the problem and people, we have to come together and deal with the reality of this issue."
“News that gasoline prices are falling usually comes with a warning – don’t get used to it,” said “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric. “So consider yourself warned as we tell you gas has fallen 17 cents the past two weeks to a nationwide average tonight of $2.88 a gallon. That is the lowest price in three months.”
That’s right, Katie. When it comes to gasoline prices and the CBS “Evening News,” they’re either high or probably going to get higher.
"Evening News" ignored the initial drop in gasoline prices last week.
An inmate of Guantanamo Bay who spends 22 hours each day in an isolation cell is fighting for the right to stay in the notorious internment camp.
Ahmed Belbacha fears that he will be tortured or killed if the United States goes ahead with plans to return him to his native Algeria.
Zachary Katznelson, senior counsel with the human rights lawyers Reprieve and Mr Belbacha’s lawyer, has asked the US courts to block any transfer. “Ahmed is being held in camp six, the harshest part of Guantanamo,” he said. “His cell is all steel, there are no windows, he is not allowed to communicate with other prisoners and he gets just two hours exercise each day in a metal cage.
Looks like Rupert Murdoch has won his bid to buy Dow Jones:
The Bancroft family has accepted News Corporation's $5 billion (£2.46 billion) offer to buy Dow Jones, the owner of The Wall Street Journal, a Dow Jones executive said this afternoon, citing an internal company document.
John Prestbo, editor and executive director of Dow Jones Indexes, said that “the Bancroft family has accepted” the offer, Reuters reported.
Dow Jones “will be part of News Corp”, he added.
Mr Prestbo told Reuters that the information came from an internal company memo. [...]
On Tuesday’s "Good Morning America," anchors Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer touted the marital relationship between Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife. Co-host Robin Roberts recounted the often repeated story of how the Edwards couple spend their wedding anniversary, including their recent 30th, at the restaurant Wendy’s.
Roberts, perhaps in a Freudian slip, even referred to the former North Carolina Senator as "presidential nominee John Edwards." Sawyer gushed that the candidate and his wife "are going to renew their vows." "Happy anniversary," she added.
Yet, this is the same morning show that has vastly underplayed stories that aren’t quite so cute and endearing for the '08 contender. For instance, during a recent GMA town hall with John Edwards on the subject of poverty, Ms. Sawyer only managed to mention the trial lawyer’s 28,000 square-foot mansion once.
The July 31 edition of "The Early Show," just like the CBS Evening News broadcast, actually ran the news of two left leaning academics citing progress in Iraq. David Martin’s set up story featured co-author Kenneth Pollack explaining Iraqi improvements.
However, just as correspondent Allen Pizzey refused to mention any improvements, and snidely dismissed John McCain’s positive assessment on Iraq, the CBS crew is often skeptical of any positive signs. Though much more subtle, host Harry Smith displayed some disbelief to guest Michael O’Hanlon.
Assume for a moment you were writing an article about how the United States had fewer troop mortalities in Iraq this July than in the last eight months. Would you do your best to present this as good news?
Well, the Associated Press' Sinan Salaheddin either woke up on the wrong side of the bed Tuesday morning, or didn't fully comprehend that when it comes to military casualties, on your team less is better.
Maybe Salaheddin thinks AP stands for "absurdly pessimistic," as despite the uplifting headline "U.S. Toll in Iraq Lowest in 8 Months," after mentioning it again in the opening paragraph, the article quickly rained on any optimism the reader might have been briefly feeling (emphasis added throughout):
SAN FRANCISCO — Brooke Brodack remembers her first online "hater."
Nearly two years ago, the person posted rude comments about a video she had posted on YouTube, says Brodack, 21, of San Francisco, whose videos show her lip-syncing and creating characters. "It was shocking to me. Why would someone want to be so mean for no reason?"
Why, indeed? Nasty comments, sometimes even death threats, have become ubiquitous on virtually any website that seeks to engage readers in discussion.
"Ur ugly u suk and u should die," says a typical comment beneath one of Brodack's many videos. Such vulgar messages have inspired heated discussions, and video responses, on YouTube.
Reporter Janet Kornblum later brought the topic around to how mainstream media Web sites have taken to banning comments after persistent problems:
Mark's post on new Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart caused me to stumble across this news from a few days ago: The gay cable channel Logo and the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-left lobby, have announced that Margaret Carlson, a former White House correspondent and deputy Washington bureau chief of Time magazine, will moderate the August 9 Democratic candidates debate on Logo, and Capehart will join the questioning panel.
Carlson was a major booster of Hillary Clinton when she reported from the White House for Time. Capehart is a longtime member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Here's the official press release language:
What is it with Dems and hedge funds? Not long ago we learned that Mr. Two Americas worked for one. Today we find out, in a front-page profile in the New York Times, that Chelsea Clinton also works for a hedge fund.
But the Times was strangely shy about divulging the fact. Only those who persisted through 18 paragraphs and 977 words were rewarded with that noteworthy nugget. And even when the Times did get around to informing us, it managed to find a sympathetic spin to place on Chelsea's decision to work for what many liberals like to portray as the poster child for evil capitalism gone wild.
Leftists talk constantly of their own "compassion" but you can always count on them to express glee whenever a prominent conservative or religious person dies or is injured. It's almost like clockwork.
"Humor" blog Wonkette.com had this to say about the Monday news that U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts had a minor seizure:
Chief Justice John Roberts has died in his summer home in Maine. No, not really, but we know you have your fingers crossed.
To get an idea of just how full of hate and ill humor Wonkette has become, realize this: the moonbats at Democratic Underground have actually been more civil about Roberts's medical condition as you can see in this thread here.
The respect actually set off one of the DUers, one "wakfs" by name, who apparently is reading the wrong leftist web site. I've taken the liberty of removing the vulgarities:
A July 26, 2007, Los Angeles Times article by Stephanie Simon (whose work we've addressed in the past here, here, here, here, here, and here) claims there's been a "striking shift" by Democrats on the issue of abortion. She also asserts, "Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail have begun to adopt some of the language and policy goals of the antiabortion movement." Simon's article is entitled, "Democrats shift approach on abortion," and if the folks at the DNC aren't laughing their pants off, they're certainly not complaining.
NBC Nightly News on Monday ignored a development both ABC and CBS found newsworthy, that after eight days in Iraq, two Brookings Institution scholars who describe themselves has “harshly” critical of Bush's Iraq policy, determined the situation in Iraq is better than they assumed and so the “surge” should continue into next year. Instead of reporting the fresh assessment from Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, NBC anchor Brian Williams, citing “a draft U.S. report,” aired a full story on how “there are disturbing new details about corruption at the very top of the Iraqi government.” But the NBC Nightly News has hardly been reticent before about running soundbites from O'Hanlon with dire warnings about Iraq.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson declared “the column was the talk of Washington today.” From Iraq, Terry McCarthy related that “the report tracks fairly closely with what we're seeing both in our visits to U.S. bases in and around Baghdad involved with the surge, and also our trips out to Baghdad neighborhoods talking to Iraqi population. Clearly, security is improving as the U.S. military footprint expands so the violence goes down, the sectarian killings go down.” Indeed, on CBS, David Martin noted how “with one day left in the month, American casualties in July are the lowest since the troop surge began in February. And civilian casualties are down a third.” Martin aired soundbites from Pollack and O'Hanlon as he described “just enough progress so that a critic like Michael O'Hanlon, who used to think the surge was too little too late, now believes it should be continued.”
Does the MSM have the vaguest clue about what makes Republicans tick? For months the liberal media has been propounding the absurd notion that John McCain's quest to obtain the Republican presidential nomination has been undermined by his support for the Iraq war. The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart seems a good guy, but he has now added a clueless coda to that misperception, suggesting that McCain's efforts to repair his relations with the religious right has done him in.
Capehart was part of a panel on this afternoon's "Hardball." Mike Barnicle guest hosted for Chris Matthews, and asked the question "is John McCain gone?"
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIALIST JONATHAN CAPEHART: At least for me, as a member of the press, when John McCain . . . called Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance," I thought now there's straight talk, that's someone standing on his own two feet. But then, when he walked away from that recently, I thought wait a minute, what happened to straight talk?
Fortunately, the Weekly Standard's Matt Continetti was there to set him straight.
Judging by the media's reaction one could assume the Hillary campaign isn't displeased by the release and subsequent publication by the New York Times of her college letters. During the roundtable portion of tonight's Hardball the media panel dissected how her letters during her college days affected her campaign and they mostly agreed they only serve to help humanize the notoriously cold candidate.
Joan Walsh of Salon.com declared: "I think they're intensely humanizing...So I thought there were a net gain, positive, for her." Walsh even encouraged her own daughter to read them for inspiration: "I have a teenager, so I want her to read them and remember, you know, it's, that we all have days like that."
On Saturday’s "Early Show," host Jeff Glor framed a political headline in a way that portrays President Bush as criminally uncaring. The story was about a seven year old Orlando boy who wrote a letter to the president, pleading for him to do something to make his community safer.
Jeff Glor (Host): "And one seven year old boy's cry for help has gone as far as Capitol Hill and the White House."
Santiago Valera: (Video) "Dear Mr. President, hello, sir, my name is Santiago Santana Valera...."
Glor: "In a letter to the president, Santiago describes the shooting death of his aunt and his fear of even playing outside in Orlando, Florida now. His words were read this week on the House floor by his congressman. It led to the passage of a bill to beef up police departments nationwide. President Bush is expected to veto that legislation."
Glor offered no specifics about the bill nor did he provide any explanation as to why the president is expected to veto it. Rather, from the framing of the story, the president is portrayed as something of a heartless monster, inexplicably denying the impassioned pleas of a scared child. According to spokesman Blair Jones, the administration has spent 2.5 billion dollars on the issue since 2001.
It seems the media know why the stock market declined recent. Some journalists are blaming this recent correction in the stock market on widespread credit problems and point to troubles in the housing market as evidence.
“[B]ut nothing is likely to unsettle the markets as much as more credit woes,” said NBC News correspondent Pat Dawson on the July 29 “NBC Nightly News.” “Any additional problems with mortgage defaults or companies trying to borrow and coming up short is likely to send investors running for the exits again.”
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," and again on Sunday, ABC anchors eagerly touted the idea that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could be fired at any second. On July 27, GMA host Chris Cuomo discussed sworn Senate testimony given by Gonzales and wondered if the Attorney General had been "caught in a lie with the whole nation watching?" (An ABC graphic helpfully asked, "Is Atty General lying?")
Mentioning claims that Gonzales testimony has been contradicted by FBI Director Robert Mueller, Cuomo, whose brother is the Democratic Attorney General of New York, asked "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos, "...Bottom line, is Alberto Gonzales out of a job at end of business today?"
“Don’t let that scenic [Aquafina] logo fool you, this water is not bottled from a mountain stream,” said Rob Marciano CNN’s “American Morning.”
Aquafina, the country's best-selling brand of bottled water, was portrayed as shamefully dishonest by "CBS Evening News," "NBC Nightly News," ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" on July 27. And by the July 30 "American Morning."
PepsiCo, the bottler of Aquafina, was under attack the day it announced labeling changes for the product from "P.W.S." to "Public Water Source."
CNN's "Newsroom" apparently can't get enough of Max Blumenthal. Less than four hours after their 5-minute infomercial on Blumenthal latest left-wing hack job on Sunday evening, host Rick Sanchez and correspondent Josh Levs did another segment promoting the "expose" on College Republicans. Sanchez and Levs continued to "conveniently omit" the liberal associations of Blumenthal, not even mentioning Blumenthal's posting of his video on the Huffington Post, as they did in their first segment. Sanchez was even open about where he stood on the issue of young Republican "chicken hawks." "As you watch these guys – and I think most people at home would agree -- there seems to be a certain hypocritical nature to this. I mean, they're so boastful when they talk about supporting the war, and yet sheepish when it comes to actually doing something about it."
One alert reader noticed a big problem with the piece: The President did not do what the headline said he did. Here's a letter to the editor from the July 29 Times:
Nowhere in your article headlined "Bush ties Al Qaeda in Iraq to Sept. 11" (July 25) does the president do any such thing. Nor has he done so anywhere else. Instead, he has made an argument that, at present, Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda has some operational control over Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Sunday's New York Times led with Scott Shane and David Johnston's "Mining of Data Prompted Fight Over U.S. Spying," on what the intelligence reporters characterized as a fierce Justice Department debate over the use of "data mining" in the war on terror.
"A 2004 dispute over the National Security Agency's secret surveillance program that led top Justice Department officials to threaten resignation involved computer searches through massive electronic databases, according to current and former officials briefed on the program.
Not only did segment reporter Josh Levs fail to identify many of Blumenthal’s left-wing associations (other than the fact that posted his video on the Huffington Post, which is not identified as a liberal website), he tried to cover for Blumenthal by stating that the left-wing writer "really rejects that radical left-wing label" after the co-chair of the College Republicans called Blumenthal part of "a bunch of radical left-wing people." "Newsroom" anchor Rick Sanchez closed the segment with a clip of an earlier interview where he posed Blumenthal’s question to three Republican college students earlier this month.
A lot of people are atwitter over this addition to the Thompson advisory team of former Senator Spencer Abraham. But, it is starting to look to me like a story incorrectly reported by the MSM and rolling off track from there. It just seems that there are too many conflicting reports on Abraham's role with the AP reporting that he is a new "campaign manager" but others saying Randy Enwright is.
The website IsraelToday, for instance, has posted a story full of alarm over the addition of Spence to the team. Their reaction is similar to many Israel supporters here in the states, too. "Fred Thompson names anti-Israel ex-senator as campaign manager" their headline screams. They are very worried over Spence's past slights to Israel and for being "soft on Islamic terrorism."
From the Gavel -- At a House Armed Services Committee Hearing on Iraq Legislation Friday morning (revised from "this morning" when originally posted on Monday), Kansas Congresswoman Nancy Boyda apparently heard as much good news as she could stand.
So she did the old cut-and-run by walking out (as The Gavel explains, "She is responding in part to General Jack Keane, who testified before the Committee but left before Rep. Boyda’s remarks, and was reportedly one of the architects of the escalation policy"; there should probably be a "from" before the second mention of Keane's name):
"I was certainly hoping that General Keane would be able to be here as well. Let me say thank you very much for your testimony so much, Mr. Korb, and I just will make some statements more for the record based on what I heard mainly General Keane. As many of us, there was only so much that you could take until we, in fact, had to leave the room for a while, and so I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things that after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to."
"But let me just first say that the description of Iraq as if some way or another that it’s a place that I might take the family for a vacation, things are going so well, those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying here’s the reality of the problem and people, we have to come together and deal with the reality of this issue."