Government Agencies

By Tom Blumer | February 11, 2015 | 9:54 PM EST

The federal government today reported a $17.5 billion budget deficit for January. That brings this fiscal year's shortfall through four months to $194.2 billion, up from $182.8 billion during the same period last year.

As usual, the Associated Press's coverage, this time delivered by Martin Crutsinger, named the nation's "Worst Economic Writer" by National Review's Kevin Williamson two years ago, gave an incomplete historical explanation for the $1 trillion-plus annual deficits incurred from fiscal 2009 through 2012, and "somehow" forgot that President Barack Obama, who is demanding higher taxes in the budget he recently submitted, already got a significant tax increase on higher incomes just two years ago. Excerpts follow the job:

By Tom Blumer | February 4, 2015 | 11:45 PM EST

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh believes that because the center-right media and blogosphere pushed back against the vaccine vendetta campaign against Republicans and conservatives, the establishment press is sharply backing away from trying to capitalize on it, especially because both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been shown to have played to the anti-vaxxer crowd during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign.

Additionally, the New York Times, which smelled blood and ran a hit piece ("Measles Outbreak Proves Delicate Issue to G.O.P. Field") on Page A1 in its Tuesday print edition, had to issue a major three-point correction to it the very next day. That correction to the story by reporters Jeremy Peters and Richard Pérez-Peña, and Rush's reaction to it, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; paragraph breaks added by me):

By Tom Blumer | February 4, 2015 | 7:02 PM EST

On Friday, Joe Nocera at the New York Times, in the words of a February 4 Times correction, premised his op-ed column "about the indictment of the longtime New York State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver ... on several factual errors."

The correction failed to correct yet another factual error, namely that Silver, who was arrested, as the Times itself reported, on January 22, has not yet been formally indicted. Here is the full text of that correction (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Tom Blumer | February 4, 2015 | 3:31 PM EST

Yesterday, in a column at his organization's web site, the head of the nation's leading polling organization called the government's official unemployment rate, currently at 5.6 percent, a "big lie."

Rest assured that if Gallup Inc. Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton had written this column during a Republican or conservative administration, his words would have been picked up by the Associated Press and the New York Times, and would have echoed across the Big Three networks' nightly newscasts. Instead, because relatively good-looking government data is sacrosanct during a Democratic administration, an expansive Google News search at 1:15 p.m. ET on "Gallup unemployment lie" (not in quotes, showing similar items and duplicates) returned only 26 items. Almost all of them are from center-right blogs and outlets. One exception is an item at Fortune.com which accuses Clifton of indulging in a "vast" "conspiracy theory."

By Tom Blumer | February 3, 2015 | 8:34 PM EST

On Friday, the government reported that the nation's economy, as measured in its real gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent during last year's final quarter, sharply trailing analysts' consensus predictions ranging from 3.0 percent to 3.6 percent.

As is the case after the first version of every GDP report, economy watchers have been trying to estimate the effect other subsequently released fourth quarter-related government and other data might have on GDP revisions to be reported in late February and late March. Predictably, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, seems to have decided that it will tell its readers about the ones which seem to point to upward revisions, and that it will ignore those which go in the opposite direction.

By Tom Blumer | February 2, 2015 | 5:43 PM EST

According to the Israeli publication Haaretz and many other news outlets, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry won't meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because it's "inappropriate."

Specifically, "The White House cited the proximity of the Israeli election to Netanyahu's visit, and the desire to refrain from interfering in the election." Certain blatant falsehoods are too much to take, and at Investor's Business Daily, this was one of them. An IBD editorial also tied the actions of those who are clearly acting as Team Obama agents trying to oust Netanyahu in those upcoming Israeli elections to a more comprehensive indictment of the administration's foreign policy (HT to a frequent tipster; bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Seton Motley | February 2, 2015 | 9:37 AM EST

The Seattle Seahawks yesterday - in a moment of profound foolishness - forsook Beast Mode for Least Mode.  And it cost them the Super Bowl.   But they can take ever so slight solace - the Media has been in Least Mode for decades. 

This has been on prominent display throughout the Barack Obama Administration - and certainly when it comes to the Administration’s many, MANY unilateral power grabs.

First, a bit of a Constitutional primer for a Media that seems to desperately need it.  Congress is the Legislative Branch.  They write laws - which the President then signs.  Said President presides over the Executive Branch.  His many, many, MANY Departments, Agencies, Commissions and Boards are then - and only then - charged with executing the legislation Congress first composed. 

By Tom Blumer | January 31, 2015 | 11:51 PM EST

At the recent meeting of the world's elites in Davos, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon circulated a proposal to ban cars in all major cities in the world by dense-packing their layouts. The cost, as I noted on Monday: a mere $90 trillion (that's right, trillion). It's telling in a foreboding sense that the pair's idea wasn't laughed off the continent.

Enviro-nutty ideas such as these trace their origin to Gore's 1992 book, "Earth in the Balance," in which Gore called the internal combustion engine "the mankind's greatest enemy." In reality, it is arguably the greatest enabler of human progress in the world's history. So readers should take some delight in articles appearing two years apart — one at Time.com, and another at the Wall Street Journal, where the authors predict that the odds seem to be in favor of the evil internal combustion engine continuing to outshine the enviros' favored alternatives for at least the next couple of decades. Gore and his media enablers surely wail and gnash their teeth when such inconvenient items rear their scientific heads.

By Tom Blumer | January 31, 2015 | 9:54 AM EST

Yesterday's government report on the economy's growth, which told us that the nation's gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent during the fourth quarter, sharply underachieved analysts' expectations of an annualized 3.0 percent to 3.6 percent. The stock market clearly reacted negatively to the downside surprise. Bloomberg's take at the end of the day: "U.S. stocks fell Friday, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its biggest monthly decline in a year, as weaker-than-forecast economic growth overshadowed a rally in energy shares sparked by a surge in the price of crude."

That didn't stop Martin Crutsinger and Josh Boak at the Associated Press from celebrating the result in late-morning and overnight reports, respectively. Meanwhile, Josh Mitchell at the Wall Street Journal delivered a more sanguine take on the situation.

By Tom Blumer | January 30, 2015 | 11:48 PM EST

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who alleges he was fired from his position solely because of his Christian beliefs, has filed a religious discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

That's not news at the Associated Press's national site, and it appears that the AP has not even carried a local story about Cochran's EEOC complaint — omissions that reek of a double standard.

By Tom Blumer | January 30, 2015 | 9:30 PM EST

Even Charles Babington at the Associated Press, for once not the completely beholden Administration's Press, seemed to be having a hard time buying what Democrats at a meeting in Philadelphia were selling. Unfortunately, he decided to let Joe Biden's direct contradiction of his party's congressional delegation's sunnyside-up stance on the economy go unreported.

In a video carried at the Weekly Standard, Biden said, "To state the obvious, the past six years have been really, really hard for this country, And they've been really tough for our party. Just ask [former DCCC chair] Steve [Israel]. They've been really tough for our party. And together we made some really, really tough decisions -- decisions that weren't at all popular, hard to explain." Despite how "really, really hard" it has all been, the party is attempting an "in your face" at those who want to claim that it has been that way because of the Obama administration's economic policies. Excerpts from Babington's AP report follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

By Tom Blumer | January 28, 2015 | 11:52 PM EST

If someone fools you once, shame on them. If they fool you with the same trick a second time, shame on you. If they "fool" you a third time — well, you must be in on it.

That's my take on Bloomberg News's virtually euphoric reaction to yesterday's new-home sales release from the Census Bureau. The wire service's Shobhana Chandra celebrated how seasonally adjusted December sales were at "the highest level in more than six years." The problem is that the bureau reported the same development two other times in 2014, only to see each improvement disappear in subsequent revisions. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):