Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | December 30, 2014 | 11:52 AM EST

The old saying — "To err is human, but to really screw things up, you need a computer" — needs an update. In this case, it's "To err is human, but to wreck an entire industry, you need to have the federal government try to force it to computerize."

I'm referring to the government's attempt to coerce doctors into using its mandated, "clunky, time-sucking" electronic health records system. Somehow, it's barely news, with a story by Politico Magazine's Arthur Allen constituting a rare exception, that over a quarter-million doctors, i.e., half of all who are eligible, face fines next year for "failing to use the systems in the way the government required."

By Tom Blumer | December 28, 2014 | 9:52 AM EST

In St. Louis County, police have arrested 19 year-old Joshua Williams and charged him (HT Gateway Pundit) with committing "1st degree arson, 2nd degree burglary and misdemeanor theft" at the QuikTrip convenience store in Berkeley, Missouri on Christmas Eve. Williams "has confessed to the crimes."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch gets today's prize for most absurd headline, as seen after the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | December 26, 2014 | 10:28 AM EST

Earlier this morning, I posted on Vermont's abandonment of its attempt to impose and implement a "single-payer" (i.e., government-controlled) healthcare system, and on how muted the press coverage has been.

It's difficult to overstate how devastating the Green Mountain State's blowup is to the left's oft-stated long-term goal of imposing single-payer, occasionally referred to a "Medicare for all," on the entire nation. This goes a long way towards explaining the light press coverage. President Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi are among those who are on record asserting that they want — and expect — that nationwide single-payer will happen. Another such person is the now familiar and infamous Jonathan Gruber, an admitted architect (when it was convenient) of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

By Tom Blumer | December 26, 2014 | 7:23 AM EST

President Barack Obama, soon to be former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Congressman Barney Frank, and many other prominent Democrats and leftists have over the past several years declared that their ultimate goal is turn the U.S. healthcare system into a "single-payer," i.e., completely government-controlled, enterprise.

That likely explains why the reaction to Vermont's abandonment of its attempt to set up single-payer has been quite muted in the establishment press, as many of its members have ardently supported the idea for decades.

By Tom Blumer | December 24, 2014 | 10:42 AM EST

When I first read about this, I thought that it had to be some kind of weird spoof. But it's not.

Over the course of almost two excruciatingly tedious minutes complete with ominous piano-dominated background music, a recently created video intended to become a public service announcement (PSA) shows a teenage boy taking a gun out of a drawer in his parents' bedroom and bringing it to school. At the end of a class period, he puts it on the desk of his shocked teacher and asks her, "Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house."

By Tom Blumer | December 23, 2014 | 10:43 AM EST

Establishment press reporting has all too often been about perpetuating a narrative, even long after it has been proven false, than conveying facts and truth. Anyone arguing that 2014 has been one of the worst years ever for this growing trend won't get an argument here.

An Associated Press poll about the top stories of the year got responses from 85 editors at subscribing AP outlets. Although the top story named wasn't a surprise (disappointing, yes; surprise, no), the way the AP's David Crary wrote it up to support the proven-false "Hands up, don't shoot!" narrative on Monday was absolutely outrageous (bolds and numbered tags):

By Tom Blumer | December 21, 2014 | 12:15 AM EST

In New York City, police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were killed Saturday afternoon by a man who indicated online that his motivation was to seek revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner on Staten Island.

At the Daily Beast, M.L. Nestel didn't find it particularly difficult to find people who thought that the officers deserved to die, and almost seemed to excuse their feelings.

By Tom Blumer | December 20, 2014 | 9:59 AM EST

In discussing a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing announced Wednesday, the New York Daily News carried comments made by Howard Zucker, the state's Health Commissioner, about fracking's impact on public health.

Zucker asked two rhetorical questions: "Would I live in a community with (fracking) based on the facts I have now?" and “Would I let my child play in a school field nearby or my family drink the water from the tap or grow their vegetables in the soil?” His answer: “After looking at the plethora of reports ... no." Cuomo reportedly described Zucker's remarks as “very sobering ... because if the state health commissioner doesn’t want his kids living there, I don’t want my kids living there and I don’t want any New Yorkers’ kids living there." Too bad for the truth that Zucker has no children, and is unmarried. Too bad for New Yorkers unaware of what the Daily News found that the rest of the press will pretend that Zucker's false pose as a family man is unimportant, and won't report it.

By Tom Blumer | December 20, 2014 | 7:49 AM EST

The establishment press is virtually giddy over New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's cowardly, self-serving decision to ban fracking in New York. It's cowardly because Cuomo is publicly pretending that he's only deferring to his environmental and health commissioners, when everyone with an ounce of sense knows that he's getting the recommendations he wanted. It's self-serving because it enhances his political cachet with environmental zealots while disregarding the frightening plight, with the exception of Metro New York City, of the Empire State's seriously decaying economy.

Examples of pathetic press coverage, plus a depressing look at the state's non-New York City job market, follow the jump.

By Tom Johnson | December 17, 2014 | 11:57 AM EST

“What the average person is seeing right now,” declares the American Prospect’s Paul Waldman, “is an entire party mobilizing to defend the use of torture, whether they will call it by that name or not. And that looks to be having an effect on public opinion.”

By Tom Blumer | December 16, 2014 | 11:55 PM EST

Earlier tonight, Curtis Houck at NewsBusters observed that the Tuesday evening network news shows failed to report on an opinion issued today by a federal judge in Western Pennsylvania in connection with President Obama's illegal immigration-related executive actions last month.

Several blogs and center-right outlets noted Judge Arthur Schwab's 38-page "Memorandum Opinion" this afternoon. Not that this excuses the networks, but a search at the Associated Press's national site just before 8 p.m. on Schwab's last name (unfortunately not saved) returned nothing relevant. But shortly after 8 p.m. a story with a time stamp of 5:08 p.m. with Schwab's name finally showed up in the same search. Only the AP can explain how this could have happened.

By Tom Blumer | December 16, 2014 | 5:37 PM EST

In a December 9 article at Politico Magazine, Erica Peterson went after Louisville's "urban heat island" problem, where "a city’s center experiences significantly hotter temperatures than its less-developed surroundings."

In doing so, Peterson rolled out some very questionable statistics. But it's her contention that "As pollution and stagnant air bake in the sun" in the city's heat island, "air quality worsens" that was really over the top. If that statement were true, Louisville's air quality should have deteriorated as its heat island problem has grown. The truth is, as Powerline's Steven Hayward demonstrated yesterday, that the Derby City's air quality has significantly improved.