For the second year in a row, a state official has proposed eliminating the former Golden State's "welfare-to-work" program, which the rest of us know as "welfare," or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Last year, it was left to a spokesman for the state's Department of Finance to bring out the idea. This year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fronted it himself.
As has been the case for the almost four years I've been following the situation, the press once again universally failed to provide anything resembling context. If it did, people would understand that this is a story about a decade-long shocking level of theoretically well-intentioned waste (the cynical observation would be that the good intentions are tempered by the likelihood that dependent voters are overwhelmingly Democratic voters).
The as up to date as possible context (through September 30 of last year for recipients and families, the latest available government data; some estimation was required because certain data fields are blank) is this:
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
Watch the latest business video at &lt;a href=&quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&quot;&gt;video.foxbusiness.com&lt;/a&gt;Another devastating intended/unintended consequence of the Obama administration's major government expansion: charity organizations (already in deep struggle to weather current economic conditions) will likely experience additional major decline in contributions.
On the April 16 broadcast of Fox Business Network's "Varney & Co.," Rick Dunham, CEO of fundraising consultant Dunham & Company, weighed in on the new budget proposal that would scale back charitable deductions for families making over $250,000.
"Do you think you're going to take a really big hit in terms of lower donations to charities? How big a hit?" host Stuart Varney asked.
"Well the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University did a study last year to look at the impact of the rise in the marginal tax rate and the capping of charitable deductions at 28-percent and they believe that it'll be about almost a $4 billion hit based on 2006 dollars," Dunham said. "So we're probably looking at about a $5 billion hit."
Watch the latest business video at &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com/&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;It is virtually impossible to separate economics from politics, and politics from a society's culture - but is economics inherently intertwined with religion as well?
Fox Business Network (FBN) anchor Stuart Varney thinks so. On FBN's April 14 broadcast of "Varney & Co." Father Jonathan Morris joined the show's panel and explored the question.
"Do you think that Europe's paganism - it's turn away from Christianity - has anything to do with Europe's economic decline?" Varney bluntly asked the priest. "Can you link this secularism - what I call ‘paganism' in Europe- directly to economic decline?"
"Certainly Europe is much more secular than the United States, and all of a sudden you lose hope," Morrison said. "If you lose hope in what life is all about, you're not going to work very hard. On the other hand, if you have hope that what I'm doing today matters tomorrow - and I'm building a life and I'm building my family and we're going places - and there's something beyond this life? You're going to be hopeful, you're going to make money - you're going to build the culture of life and goodness."
Combining bleeding heart bluster with soak-the-rich envy, Newsweek's Ben Adler savaged liberal billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an April 14 The Gaggle blog post for his green-lighting city homeless shelters to levy a monthly rent on residents who hold down jobs:
Don't complain about your taxes today, they are surely less than the 44 percent of one's income that homeless New Yorkers are about to start paying.
New York City, whose mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is worth an estimated $17.5 billion, has announced that it is going to charge homeless people for staying in city housing shelters.
Adler went on to briefly cite the New York Daily News before snarking that "[a]nyone who has spent a minute in a homeless shelter knows better than to buy the preposterous idea that people who could afford an apartment would rather stay there."
Of course that's an unfair assessment of the argument for charging rent of homeless shelter residents who have jobs. From the Daily News article Adler himself cited (emphasis mine):
Wondering how much faith the left has in your ability to run your own life? Chris Matthews was brutally honest today when he criticized that "idealistic notion" of self-reliance that ignorant conservatives insist on pushing.
Matthews apparently believes that without massive social welfare programs like Medicare and Social Security, there would be "poor people all over the place, old people lying in the streets," and the nation would look like "Calcutta."
He made these absurd claims -- and they are absurd -- on yesterday's Hardball, and went on to call for a more robust "social state," complaining that lefty bloggers had not done enough to make it seem more desirable to the American people (h/t GatewayPundit).
On February 14, CNN aired both segments of its special series “Black in America," and used the opportunity to perpetuate a harmful racial myth.
In the first installment, reporter Soledad O’Brien took viewers to Project Brotherhood, a clinic in the south side of Chicago offering free medical care and advice to its black residents.
“We are seeing an increasing amount of men with resources, who are just reluctant to access services elsewhere,” Dr. Pete Thomas, a clinic doctor told O’Brien.
“Why the reluctance? Dr. Thomas says black men are afraid of being exploited – a fear caused by history and the revelation that for forty years unsuspecting poor black men were used as medical guinea pigs in the infamous Tuskegee experiments,” O’Brien said.
A website owned by the Washington Post on Monday accused Fox News host Bill O'Reilly of racism. O'Reilly's slight? Informing his viewers of the widespread corruption in Haiti. The accuser, meanwhile, omitted key facts undermining his charge.
O'Reilly had the audacity in a January 13 "Talking Points" segment to make the "not particularly constructive" suggestion (in The Root's words) that his viewers be wary of the intermediaries they use to send aid to Haiti given the island's notorious problem with corruption.
First of all, O'Reilly is a very "constructive" donor to the Haitian relief organization Haitian Health Foundation. The organization's founder, Dr. Jeremiah Lowney, heaped praise on O'Reilly for his generous donations to the cause in a letter read on air on January 22: "Mr. O, thank you for your latest donation. Your generosity over the years to the Haitian Health Foundation has brought improved health and hope to our poorest neighbors. God bless you!"
Not content to merely omit facts in his dubious attacks on O'Reilly, The Root author Thomas Reed attributed O'Reilly's statement that Haiti is an immensely corrupt nation to "a far too familiar trope: Black as savage, other, incomprehensible. Inhuman. Is this hyperbole? Perhaps."
On Saturday, NB's Noel Sheppard reported on this statement made by Education Secretary Arne Duncan: "I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster. It took hurricane Katrina to wake up the community and say we have to do better."
CNN host T.J. Holmes read that quote aloud during a broadcast. "Of course I agree" with Duncan's statement, said one guest, CNN contributor Steve Perry. The host and correspondents went back and forth about how the hurricane may or may not have helped public schools, never once impugning Duncan's motives.
Contrast this media response with the response to former Republican Congressman from Louisiana Richard Baker's statement regarding Katrina: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." It sparked outrage among the liberal media (h/t NRO's John Miller).
Sometimes getting hung up on percentage increases causes one to miss what's going on with the actual numbers.
Such is the case in a January 26 front page story by USA Today's Richard Wolf. USAT's is the only recent original coverage I have found thus far relating to increases in the national welfare rolls during the recession. (An unbylined story at UPI merely reports on what USAT's Wolf wrote.)
USAT's Wolf let himself get distracted by double-digit caseload increases in certain states, but missed the big story: California, with roughly 12% of the country's population, was responsible for over half of the increase in both families and recipients receiving benefits. The reason the state's percentage increase was smaller than several others was because its caseload is already scandalously out of control.
Wolf also made a point of comparing the relatively small increase in the national welfare caseload to steep rises in the number of Americans receiving food stamp and unemployment insurance benefits.
Here are the first five and final paragraphs from Wolf, followed by a closer look at the numbers:
In keeping with the tradition of the holidays - the minds at MSNBC, the place for politics if you're of the lefty persuasion, decided rate the top 10 political stories of the decade.
And leading this gang of masters of the political journalism universe was "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who on the broadcast of his Dec. 24 program, announced that conservative activism, mainly the tea party movement was the eighth biggest story of the decade - but labeled "angry white voters" (emphasis added).
"Welcome back to ‘Hardball' - our number eight political story of the decade, angry whites at town hall meetings across the country," Matthews said. "Lawmakers heard the wrath of angry voters."
In a long Saturday report on the Food Stamp program that went into print on Sunday, the New York Times's Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff:
Almost seemed to celebrate the program's explosive growth.
Bemoaned the fact that many who could participate do not.
Both in their title ("Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades") and text, cheered the loss of stigma that has long been associated with the program.
Failed to note not only gross and net benefit increases during the past two years that have far outpaced real inflation in food prices, but also the loosening of eligibility rules in many states, including Ohio.
Speaking of Ohio, omitted key facts and injected blatant bias into a situation from earlier this year in the Buckeye State's Warren County that outraged those who believe the program was meant only for those who would truly suffer if its benefits weren't available.
DeParle's and Gebeloff's work is part of a Times series that "examines how the safety net is holding up under the worst economic crisis in decades." My series of posts on the pair's report with have three parts. This first one will deal with the first three items listed above.
Now that the Obama administration is attempting to take a victory lap on the U.S. economic recovery, claiming the $787-billion stimulus passed earlier this year was what did the trick, despite a cost of $160,000 per 'stimulus' job, as ABC's Jake Tapper pointed out, it has come at the cost of the U.S. dollar.
Since then, the stock market has rebounded nicely. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is off a March low of 6,547 points, even topping the 10,000-mark recently. But what has caused this nearly 50-percent jump? According to CNBC's Larry Kudlow - loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, with low interest rates, has made it possible for the markets to rise, with the 'loose' money going into the market.
"The funny thing is, Steven, it has gone into stocks - I mean the stock market guys ... there's no real multiplier for the economy, right?" Kudlow said on his Oct. 30 CNBC program. "But it has gone into stocks and the stock market crowd wants to see the Fed to keep pouring the money in no matter what happens to the U.S. dollar."
With President Obama seeking to nationalize more and more private industry, Michael Moore promoting his latest socialist agit-prop and the left gleefully proclaiming the death of capitalism, a documentary special airing tonight offers a welcome antidote.
“The Power of the Poor with Hernando de Soto” airs Oct. 8 at 10:00 pm ET on PBS. Produced by Free to Choose Media and funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the documentary posits – and proves – a simple, powerful hypothesis: fair, unfettered access to the market economy will lift millions of the world’s people out of poverty and inoculate them against extremism.
The hour-long special is hosted by renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, the founder of Peru’s Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD) and an advocate for property rights. In the film, he takes viewers on a tour of shanty towns around Lima, Peru the likes of which can be found across the developing world.
In Peru during the 1970s and 80s, millions left subsistence agriculture behind and migrated to Peru’s cities. Across the developing world, the migration continues and major cities grow by hundreds of thousands of people each year. “The poor are no longer isolated,” de Soto said. “They are here, knocking at the door, demanding to be let in.”
These vast squatter communities that ring the cities in poor countries are teeming with what de Soto called “candidates for capitalism.” Indeed, they are already engaged in their own “extralegal” market activity. The economist estimated that 98 percent of all business done in Peru is extralegal, initiated by entrepreneurs who operate outside the official legal and commercial system.
David Letterman is not just wearing his political views on his sleeve, as a one of his shows production executives recently pointed out. Now he's allowing his show to be used as a platform for leading Democrats to advocate action on liberal causes.
On Sept. 21, President Barack Obama appeared on CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" and used his show to promote his health care/health insurance reform initiatives. But the very next night on Sept. 22, he had former President Bill Clinton on to publicize the efforts of the Clinton Global Initiative, one of which is to give aid to nations with rampant poverty.
Letterman set up Clinton to make a point about global warming. The "Late Show" host said he didn't understand how in this day and age people can still not have access to clean drinking water.
That, and the Washington Post reports on how ACORN was just "playing along" with the sting artists who caught them on videotape. You knew that was coming, didn't you? You already know that the freelance sting artists who zapped ACORN are being -- and have been -- referred to as "racists" and puppets of conservative radio and Fox News. Now, ACORN is utilizing a tried and true (but not very successful) tactic: Explaining that they were just "playing along" with the "ridiculous scheme."
I'm old enough to remember the famous (or infamous) Abscam sting of the early 1980s. One of the representatives who was convicted of taking bribes -- Richard Kelly -- famously (and hilariously) defended his illegal actions by claiming he was "undertaking his own investigation" and "spent part of the [bribe] money to maintain his cover." It didn't work. Kelly spent thirteen months in the federal pen.
But more interestingly on their Two-Way news blog, NPR's Frank James blames not ACORN itself, but society:
The Bloomberg administration in New York has happened upon an idea for at least partially solving the city's homeless problem: Buy them tickets to get to the homes of relatives in the U.S. or abroad who will take them in.
Along the way, the New York Times's coverage of the story throws out an estimate of annual costs to take care of a homeless family that is either ridiculously high, or indicative of out-of-control bloat. The story also reveals the dense logic of a so-called "homeless advocate" who believes that the people sent away are still homeless. Finally and separately, though I couldn't find a reference myself, a well-known blogger asserts that a similar approach to the problem taken by another city was derided as uncaring.
Not one to let "a serious crisis to go to waste," Franklin Delano Roosevelt used the onset of the Great Depression as an excuse to immediately begin delivering New Deal dollars in unprecedented amounts - with laser-like political precision to electorally important parts of the country. He sailed to landslide reelection in 1936 on a federally-funded tailwind.
The New Deal is now an old one - as direct mail guru Richard Viguerie describes it, "We've got money, you've got votes, let's talk." If this is what Time had in mind for Obama to learn, he has proven to be an apt pupil.
And USA Today seems to have picked up on it.
We at the Media Research Center always love to give journalistic credit when and where it is due. And the USA Today today deserves serious credit for Brad Heath's look into how:
"Billions of dollars in federal aid delivered directly to the local level to help revive the economy have gone overwhelmingly to places that supported President Obama in last year's presidential election."
That quote is in fact the first sentence of the article. No burying the lede or mincing of words here.
On Saturday, CBS’s Anthony Mason blamed tough economic times in a small Iowa town on immigration enforcement: "...the small town of Postville, Iowa, is still struggling to recover from an immigration raid last year that left its economy in tatters."
Reporting for Saturday’s Evening News, correspondent Seth Doane followed Mason’s introduction by similarly arguing: "...last May when Agriprocessors, a kosher meat processing plant, and the town's largest employer, was raided by Homeland Security. Hundreds were arrested, accused of illegally working in the U.S...After the raid, the plant declared bankruptcy. At one point, leaving hundreds of legal workers without jobs." Doane described the town’s commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the raid: "A few weeks ago at the one-year anniversary of the raid, church bells tolled 389 times, one for each person arrested. It served as a reminder, as if anyone here needed one."
In November, Doane issued an almost identical report on the impact of the raid on the Early Show: "With empty streets and shuttered shops, this small town is facing economic calamity. Mayor Bob Penrod is taking steps this weekend to declare a state of emergency here. But it's not a natural disaster. Rather, one that's manmade...It all started May 12th, when hundreds of federal immigration authorities raided Agriprocessors and arrested 389 workers."
In the second half of his op-ed in the Washington Post today, former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev entirely credits himself and fellow countrymen for the end of his country's Communist dictatorship, and claims that it's the Western capitalist model that is currently failing.
In the process, he espouses positions that seem to have been copied from the Democratic Party's past few platforms, as well as from U.S. Dear Leader Barack Obama's governing model.
Following Gobachev's ridiculous rewrite of the Soviet Union's final decade (you know it's ridiculous because the name "Reagan" never appears; he doesn't even believe that the break-up should have happened), here are key passages from the former dictator's admonishments of the West (the most obvious direct lifts from Obama and Dems are in bold):
Judge Sonia Sotomayor and Judge Clarence Thomas both had compelling life stories when they were nominated for the Supreme Court. But only Sotomayor's story has been celebrated that way by the New York Times.
Sotomayor's rise from a housing project in the East Bronx to Supreme Court nominee was "a compelling life story" in Thursday's lead article by Peter Baker and Adam Nagourney.
By contrast, the lead July 2, 1991 story by Maureen Dowd, then a White House reporter, was rather curt when it came to extolling the conservative Thomas's riveting life history. Dowd dispensed with Thomas's inspiring rise from poverty in Pin Point, Ga., where he was raised by his grandparents, in two and a half paragraphs, and suggested a cynical political motivation on the part of President George H.W. Bush. Thomas's life wasn't necessarily inspiring but was merely "offered as inspiring" by the president:
According to a posting at MediaBistro's TVNewser, FNC's Geraldo Rivera admitted to being so excited about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's selection for the Supreme Court that he got "goosebumps" when he heard the news and bumped his head on a light fixture when he sprang from his chair in excitement. TVNewser's Gail Shister writes: "The Fox News host was so excited about the high court's first Hispanic nominee that he leapt from his chair in his home office and bopped his head on a low-hanging light fixture."
She went on to quote Rivera: "This is as important to us as Obama was to the African-American community. I have goosebumps."
During his Saturday, May 16, commencement speech at Fordham University, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw fretted that the "vital signs" of "Mother Earth" have "taken a turn for the worse," as he cited global warming as a problem this year's graduating class would need to help solve. He also used the term "economic justice," a term commonly invoked by the Left, as he called on graduates to "restore economic justice." Brokaw: "We need you to celebrate one another in a common cause of restoring economic justice and true value, advancing racial and religious tolerance, creating a healthier planet."
Early in his speech, Brokaw referred to the current economic problems that largely originated in the financial sector as he argued that "the economic model that has defined your lives was, in too many ways, a house of cards," and referred to "greed and avarice" in that sector, before he more optimistically praised America as a relatively more prosperous place than the rest of the world. Brokaw: "America remains a land of unparalleled economic opportunities with a standard of living that even in these constricted circumstances is well beyond the hope of hundreds of millions in less developed countries."
Update: Brokaw also spoke at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, on May 17, and madesimilar comments.
For whatever reason, CNBC keeps lining up challengers to take on its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli over his self-reliance, pro-taxpayer persona - whether it's Steve Liesman, Arianna Huffington or this time, Keith Boykin - editor of The Daily Voice, a CNBC contributor and a BET TV host.
ON CNBC's May 7 "The Call," Santelli took on Boykin in the program's "The Call of the Wild" segment. Boykin was armed with the usual anti-George W. Bush talking points to defend President Barack Obama and his policies.
"Look what he inherited first of all," Boykin said.
"He didn't inherit anything," Santelli said. "He ran for office, it was his choice."
The Associated Press's obituary on Jack Kemp continued two troubling trends found in recent AP death notices.
In July of last year, covering Tony Snow's passing (saved here; covered at NewsBusters here), AP reporters found seemingly everything negative they could think of to write about the former White House press secretary and 2008 Media Research Center Buckley Award winner (examples -- "good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook -- if not always a command of the facts"; "questioned their [reporters'] motives as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing"; "[he turned] the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation"). The wire service also saw fit to include Snow's salary when he was at the White House.
In a March story about a tragic plane crash in Montana that took 14 lives, including seven young children, the AP just had to tell us that the plane's occupants had been en route to a skiing "retreat for the ultrarich." A later report referred to their destination as the "ritzy Yellowstone Club."
Kevin Chappell of Ebony Magazine was among the reporters preselected to ask Dear Leader Barack Obama a question at his Tuesday press conference. Here was Chappell's question:
Thank you, Mr. President. A recent report found that as a result of the economic downturn, one in 50 children are now homeless in America. With shelters at full capacity, tent cities are sprouting up across the country. In passing your stimulus package, you said that help was on the way, but what would you say to these families, especially children, who are sleeping under bridges and in tents across the country?
Chappell's question was based on a report issued by the National Center on Family Homelessness. NCFH asserts that about 1.5 million children under 18 are homeless, just over 2% of the roughly 74 million children in the US (total population by each year of age is downloadable at a link at this Census Bureau page).
Last summer, as I noted in a Pajamas Media column, an advisory group known as a civil jury in San Francisco inadvertently proved how detached from reality NCFH's most recent scare figure is, and how generally bogus homelessness stats are, when it pegged the homeless population in the City by the Bay at (get ready) ....:
An important story appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday. Here's how it began (Warren County is adjacent to and northeast of Cincinnati's Hamilton County):
County: no more food stamps for rich
Warren County’s poor (population) does not include someone with $80,000 in the bank, a paid-off $311,000 home and a Mercedes, members of the Warren County Board of Commissioners said Tuesday.
And if they have to fight the state and federal government over it, they will.
Recently the commissioners learned that this person, with the before-mentioned property, qualified for $500 a month in food stamps after she lost her job.
The Enquirer never told us why the County suddenly became motivated to do what it did.
Here's why (and how typical it is that the Enquirer either doesn't know this, or refused to give credit where due).
Someone who is "a source in the business" e-mailed State of Ohio Blogger Alliance founder Matt Hurley of Weapons of Mass Discussion. Matt put up a memorable post on March 13 containing the text of that e-mail:
At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric introduced a segment on Tysheoma Bethea, a 14-year-old girl who attended Obama’s address to Congress: "President Obama has said one of the biggest adjustments of his new job is living in a bubble. Now, to combat that problem, he started to read a handful of letters everyday from average Americans. One letter, written by an eighth grader from Dillon, South Carolina, caught his eye, and her story caught ours."
Correspondent Mark Strassmann then reported: "Thanks to Tysheoma Bethea, everyone at J.V. Martin Junior High now shares the audacity of hope...Last night, the 14-year-old watched President Obama read America her letter to Congress, a plea to build a new school for her small town." Strassmann described the situation at Bethea’s impoverished school and how Obama had instantly inspired them: "Too often at J.V. Martin Junior High dreams die early. 85% of students live below the poverty line. This school, built in 1896, is falling apart. For generations here, hope has been in shambles. The dropout rate is 60% and the daily fight is against a poverty of the spirit. But last night, this junior high reconnected to hope."