Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | July 17, 2014 | 11:59 PM EDT

Late this afternoon, I went to the Top Business Headlines page at the Associated Press's national web site to get today's new home construction news. Because the AP didn't have a story there (saved here for future reference), I knew it had to be bad, especially because to ignore it, the wire service made room in its Top 10 stories for an item on Toyota experimenting with fuel cells and aircraft orders at an air show in England.

The Census Bureau reported that seasonally adjusted housing starts fell by 9.3 percent in June after declining 7.3 percent in May. Seasonally adjusted applications for new building permits declined by 4.2 percent after a 5.1 percent revised May drop. Reporter Martin Crutsinger, doing his utmost to earn the "Worst Economics Writer" tag the National Review's Kevin Williamson conferred on him last year, blamed the weather, blamed "the South" without telling readers how the Census Bureau defines it, and ignored how, even after a very bad month, that region is still outperforming other regions in new homebuilding. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Tom Johnson | July 17, 2014 | 10:23 PM EDT

According to American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, movement conservatives live in a bubble, but in this case none of the cards therein say “Moops.” Rather, each carries the name of what righties (though usually not Waldman himself) consider one or another of the Obama administration’s scandals.

In a Wednesday post, Waldman wrote that what he called “the IRS scandalette” is “an almost perfect expression of contemporary congressional Republicanism” since it features qualities such as “the obsession with conservative victimhood” as well as the GOPers’ “utter disinterest in governing” and their “obliviousness to facts.”

By Matthew Balan | July 17, 2014 | 2:51 PM EDT

NBC Nightly News stood out on Wednesday as the only Big Three morning or evening newscast to notice the 45th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the mission that landed the first men on the Moon. During his 41-second news brief, Brian Williams paid tribute to Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins as "the living embodiment of the right stuff."

Williams also pointed out that "Apollo 11 was the culmination of the space race – a dead sprint against the Russians for a decade, who, these days, ironically, offer the only ride to space for our American astronauts." However, the anchor did not go into the detail about the decisions by President Obama and his predecessor that led to the U.S. not currently having a manned spaceflight program.

By Tom Blumer | July 17, 2014 | 2:32 PM EDT

Fox News's Megyn Kelly has clearly had it up to here with the disinformation, misinformation, distortions and outright lies coming from the left in the wake of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. A recent dishonest rant by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart (noted at NewsBusters by Jeffrey Meyer early Tuesday morning) and attempts by certain doctors to deny scientific truth caused Kelly to correct the record on the air.

The topic is the science behind whether or not the contraceptive methods Hobby Lobby's owners would not cover in its employee health insurance plan on conscience grounds are or are not abortifacient in nature. In the video seen after the jump (HT Gateway Pundit), readers will see her identify certain perhaps unexpected entities which have admitted that they are:

By Tom Blumer | July 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM EDT

Michelle Obama's name must really be mud in the school nutrition community these days.

I had to do a double-take when I read today's coverage of the School Nutrition Association's Annual Conference in Boston by Philip Marcelo at the Associated Press today. What Marcelo hid from the nation is that the SNA didn't want Michelle Obama or anyone else from the White House anywhere near their conference.

By Tom Blumer | July 13, 2014 | 9:18 PM EDT

Well, this explains a lot.

A Justin Lynch column ("Wartime Press") originally posted at the Weekly Wonk and republished at Time.com with a more foreboding title ("Bloggers, Surveillance and Obama’s Orwellian State") really ends up being an attempted justification by those Lynch quoted for having a close alliance between the government and "journalists" with "professional standards." Thom Shanker, the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times, gets the award for the most Orwellian quote in the litter, which will come after the jump. Its prelude is his belief that "The government really needs to get its message out to the American people, and it knows that the best way to do that is by using the American news media." Excerpts follow.

By Tom Blumer | July 13, 2014 | 10:28 AM EDT

Richard (RJ) Eskow, "a writer, consultant, and Senior Fellow at the Campaign for America's Future," is a certified "respectable" lefty. So as much as the idea which follows may seem laughable, it shouldn't be dismissed as the unhinged rant of someone with no influence engaging in some isolated "thought experiment" which isn't shared by others in leftyland.

Eskow, in a Tuesday column at Salon, advocated regulating Internet titans Google, Amazon and Facebook as "public utilities." His justification is that they "define our lives," they're "close to monopolies," and besides, employing a breezy myth still held by many in the press, "Big Tech was created with publicly developed technology." Read on (the headline overstates Eskow's position; bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | July 12, 2014 | 7:45 PM EDT

At the Associated Press on Friday afternoon, Andrew Taylor, who it should be noted covers Congress and is not routinely on the economics or business beat, relayed an Obama administration prediction that economic growth in 2014 will come in at 2.6 percent.

Taylor noted that this estimate, lowered from 3.3 percent, came about because of "the unexpected 2.9 percent drop in gross domestic product in the first quarter of this year when unusually severe weather dinged the economy." Besides failing to note that the contraction was an annualized drop (the actual contraction was about 0.7 percent), he didn't tell readers how absurdly strong growth will have to be during the rest of the year to hit that 2.6 percent target; it works out to an annualized 4.5 percent during each of this year's remaining unreported quarters. Perhaps the AP reporter isn't economically astute enough to recognize how unlikely that is — or worse, he recognized it and let it pass unchallenged.

By Matthew Balan | July 8, 2014 | 12:28 PM EDT

On Tuesday's New Day, CNN's Kate Bolduan all but lobbied Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine to support President Obama's multi-billion dollar request to deal with the ongoing illegal immigration crisis: "There's an immediate crisis on the southwest border. The President is going to ask for $2 billion....He says it's emergency funds to help stem...the flow of immigrants coming in. Can you support giving the President these emergency funds?"

Bolduan especially went after the Republican congressman after he slammed the Obama administration's draconian press restrictions for a planned media day at an immigration facility in Oklahoma: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

By Tom Blumer | July 7, 2014 | 6:00 PM EDT

This goes back to a week ago Saturday morning, but given the content and that it occurred on a weekend, it really needs more visibility.

On June 28, Juan Williams put in an appearance on a Fox News "Cashin' In" show panel which discussed the IRS scandal. Host Eric Bolling discussed poll results revealing that three-quarters of Americans believe that the IRS deliberately destroyed emails, and overhwelmingly want to see people involved in destroying the emails to be held accountable. The video after the jump, accompanied by Mediaite coverage containing key quotes, will show that Williams not only insists that he is completely unimpressed with the newsworthiness of the story, but also believe that those who believe it to be important are engaging in a "paranoia conspiracy" (Warning: Those who are on blood pressure meds should make that they have taken them and have allowed enough time to pass for them to achieve their proper effect; bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | July 6, 2014 | 5:10 PM EDT

In the latest White House press release disguised as analysis at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, AP stenographer Paul Wiseman sang the praises of this nation's "humming" job market and its "steadily rising" growth as the economy is "finally showing the vigor that Americans have long awaited." Wow.

Of course, the White House — er, Wiseman — never mentioned the following (to name just a few): two straight months (April and May) of real declines in consumer purchases; the seasonally adjusted decline of 523,000 in full-time employment paired with an increase of 799,000 part-time jobs in June; April’s and May's trade imbalance coming in worse than March’s, which was already very high; shipments of durable goods barely budging in April and May; factory orders falling in May; or May's flat construction spending. It got worse, as Wiseman concocted five reasons why the U.S. economy is a "world beater." Excerpts from Paul's pathetic prose follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Tom Blumer | July 3, 2014 | 4:14 PM EDT

The identity of President Obama's nominee to head the scandal-plagued, bloated mess known as the Department of Veterans Affairs was known on Sunday.

Very few news outlets (the Fox news item just linked is an exception) noted that Obama's pick was particularly odd because McDonald's run as CEO at Procter & Gamble was not considered a success. He was essentially forced into retirement after four years at the helm in May 2013.