Call yourself a Christian? Then you can't oppose whatever welfare programs the Democrats devise. So in effect argued Al Sharpton on his MSNBC show this evening.
In the course of criticizing House Republicans for having passed a bill reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the national motto, Sharpton somehow equated Christianity with support for the liberal agenda. And although I'm the opposite of an expert on Christian theology, he also came up with a formulation on faith and works that might be surprising to some Protestants. Video after the jump.
At the Politico, James Hohmann's biography page indicates that he is "an Honors graduate of Stanford University" who "studied American political history." I hope he skipped class during the time his profs covered the 1990s, because if not, he and many other classmates have been badly misled.
Hohmann covered Bill Clinton's commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of his presidential candidacy announcement at his library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and let the following Clintonian howlers go by without challenge:
Are we witnessing a crack-up within the key demographic President Obama must count on to have any hope of re-election? Al Sharpton has come out firing at Maxine Waters and other black Dems for their criticism of President Obama's perceived indifference to black unemployment. Last month, long-time congresswoman Waters told the audience at a Congressional Black Caucus event that she and other black leaders were ready to attack President Obama as soon as African-Americans "tell us it's all right and you unleash us."
On his MSNBC show last night, Sharpton accused those who spoke of "unleash us" of being "hypocrites." According to Sharpton, such people didn't make a peep when Bill Clinton implemented the reinstitution of the federal death penalty and welfare reform. Sharpton issued a blunt warning: "I'm not telling you to shut up. I'm telling you don't make some of us have to speak up." View video after the jump.
Apparently, the state of California has been trying to do something about the runaway costs of its "traditional welfare" program. Nationally, it's known as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). In the tarnished Golden State, it's called CalWORKS (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids).
Wednesday, the supposedly nonpartisan but clearly left-leaning California Budget Project (CBP) issued a report entitled "Recent Cuts to CalWORKs Have Significantly Affected Families and Local Communities." At the Sacramento Business Journal, Staff Writer Kathy Robertson essentially transcribed its major points. Had she done further work, she would have noted that the number of CalWORKs recipients, already over triple the national average as a percentage of the population, increased by another quarter-million during the past 27 reported months (June 2008 to September 2010) to 1.46 million. That total is almost 4% of the state's population. The welfare-receiving percentage of the population in the rest of the country, including a few other states which have allowed their rolls to unreasonably balloon, is less than 1.2%.
Here are several paragraphs from Robertson's report:
Previewing the network’s “Black Agenda” special, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell dragged out one of the most liberal members of Congress on April 7 to demagogue Republican budget cuts as harmful to poor minority groups.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) turned what was supposed to be a conversation about the consequences of a government shutdown, which most members on both sides of the aisle want to avoid, into a screed against only $60 billion in cuts to non-defense discretionary spending.
“And so people need to know, people are going to bed hungry tonight,” fretted Lee, even though the government was still open yesterday and wouldn't close until at least tomorrow morning. “There will be more people poorer if the budget that the Republicans want passed gets passed.”
Covering the budget debate on Capitol Hill and the conflict in Libya, Andrea Mitchell spun two serious policy issues as examples of race-baiting.
On the April 5 edition of “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” the MSNBC anchor lamented that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed 2012 budget would ravage black and Hispanic communities.
“Representative Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget, released today, includes reforms, what they call reforms, and also big cuts in housing assistance, job training, and food stamps,” warned Mitchell. “All of which would have a very big impact on particularly poor and minority communities, some say.”
Conagra Foods, whose social cause is ending child hunger, is taking a new approach to raise the issue’s visibility. The company is starting its largest campaign ever, including a television special, to spur more grass-roots involvement to make sure no child goes hungry.
The Omaha-based ConAgra financed a 30-minute program, hosted by Al Roker of the “Today” show on NBC, to tell the stories of American families who, each day, face the question of whether they will have enough to eat. One 8-year-old boy says, “I eat less so my sisters can have another meal.”
“Child hunger is not a problem, it’s a crisis,” Mr. Roker said in an interview, referring to the 17.2 million children the Agriculture Department estimates are at risk of lacking food. In the special, Mr. Roker, along with an NBC correspondent, Natalie Morales, highlights the effects of hunger on children’s ability to learn and complete their education.
On his July 20 afternoon program, Dylan Ratigan shouted down the Washington Examiner's J.P. Freire for challenging the MSNBC host's liberal orthodoxy and accusing him of giving more air time to the liberal panelist appearing opposite him.
Eschewing any sense of balanced reporting, Ratigan thundered: "I said I'm in charge of the show. I decide who I'll talk to. I might spend the entire time talking to Jonathan Capehart and not talk to you at all. And then you can choose never to come on my show again."
"I'm sorry, Jonathan was taking up a lot of my time earlier in the segment," explained Freire. "Look at the amount of time he's been talking and the amount of time I was talking."
At the Associated Press, Kelli Kennedy's Thursday report on fraud and abuse in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is well done in several aspects, nonetheless significantly understated its losses.
The AP dispatch deals with a now-released Government Accountability Office report on the results of investigations in nine states.
Here are the first four paragraphs of Kennedy's report (HT David Freddoso at the Washington Examiner), including reference to a woman who is LIHEAP's version of a welfare queen:
A federal program designed to help impoverished families heat and cool their homes wasted more than $100 million paying the electric bills of thousands of applicants who were dead, in prison or living in million-dollar mansions, according to a government investigation.
"[Carly Fiorina's] position on taxation would deprive women of childcare."
The Hyde Amendment "penalizes poor women terribly."
"You can't be a feminist who says other women can't" have an abortion.
These are just some of the outrageous statements left-wing feminist Gloria Steinem made during an interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric on the latest installment of "@katiecouric," which was posted to the CBSNews.com Web site on June 23.
Couric's responses to the "godmother of the modern women's movement's" absurd claims ranged from silent agreement to reflexive endorsement.
Although the former Playboy Bunny railed against the legislation that banned federal funding of abortion, Couric responded approvingly – "right!" – and changed the subject to the hockey mom every liberal feminist loves to hate:
On Thursday, leftist radio talk-show host Mike Malloy launched into another of his purple-raced rants about Rush Limbaugh. He warmed up by attacking Rep. Joe Barton's apology to BP, and how Barton is a "filthy subhuman" and Republicans are "snorting, groveling filthy pigs." What set him off about Limbaugh was the conservative host mocking the notion that children won't eat over the summer without school breakfast or lunch programs, as if parents don't feed children in the summer months. Malloy was unleashed:
Of course, for some reason, he, uh -- this filthy, disgusting subhuman -- who never has any trouble eating -- I'm sure you're aware of that from watching this gluttonous blob of goo bounce around on his TV screen. But his ability to denigrate kids. Here we have, how many million unemployed? Not like Limbaugh; Limbaugh, who gets paid $25 million, 50 million a year to be a lying shill, a scum-sucking piece of human waste for corporate America. Millions of people unemployed with kids, losing everything; and this disgusting lard just - Oh man, when the lights go out I get this guy! I swear to God I do!
After implying he would pound on (or shoot?) Rush, he insisted Limbaugh wants children to starve (and they flatter their listeners as "Truthseekers," as if that's what they're getting from Malloy):
It seems when John Lennon sang "Imagine" (aka. The Worst Song of All Time) he was talking about ... Denmark. That must be the point of a curious piece on The Washington Post's ever-more ironically named "On Faith" blog.
In an article titled "One nation Under God and a lot of stress," Alyce M. McKenzie, professor of homiletics at the Perkins School of Theology, was quite taken with her son's description of life in Copenhagen, where he'd studied for a semester. She furnished a laundry list of admirable aspects of Danish society - mostly the usual stuff American liberals cite to illustrate Europe's superiority:
...riding a bike or walking just about everywhere, having lights that go on and off automatically, recycling all glass bottles, drinking tap water, being able to let your baby in its stroller bask in the sun a bit while you go in and pick up a few groceries for tonight's meal, beautiful public spaces, green parks where people enjoy leisure time, high-speed and clean trains [what is with the liberal obsession with trains?], not being obsessed with work to the point that family and leisure are devalued, and, by all accounts, a happiness factor that exceeds ours.
And -- big bonus for a liberal trapped by "the convenience oriented, car-driven culture in suburban Texas" -- Denmark even has an exotic word that captures a concept we dull Americans couldn't have originated (think "feng shui"). "[H]ygge, which translates [as] ‘coziness,' or, more accurately, ‘tranquility,' is a complete absence of anything annoying, irritating, or emotionally overwhelming, and the presence of and pleasure from comforting, gentle and soothing things."
That's cat nip to liberals who dream of being swathed in bubble wrap and bike helmets by the nanny state. And for McKenzie, "This started me wondering why, in the Bible belt, my own life doesn't have as much hygge as the Danes." Her answer: the Danes aren't burdened with all that God baggage.
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."
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).
For one example, go back to 1995 during the welfare-reform debate. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who is now embroiled in a controversy as to whether a Tea Party protester hurled a racial epithet at him, employed the use of his own Nazi invective. (h/t MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham)
"Read the Republican contract," Lewis said on the House floor on March 21, 1995. "They're coming for our children. They're coming for the poor. They're coming for the sick, the elderly and the disabled." Lewis's comment paraphrased a famous passage by Rev. Martin Niemöller, who was in the resistance against the Nazis.
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.
The announcement of Sen. Ted Kennedy's death came at 2 a.m. Eastern on Aug. 26 and a little over 15 hours later, two prominent liberal voices were scheming as to how the president and other Democratic leaders could use his passing to advance a political agenda.
Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington appeared on MSNBC host Ed Schultz's Aug. 26 program and was asked by Schultz if it somehow could be used to push "real reform" for health care.
"The passing of Ted Kennedy - could this be a rallying cry for progressives to carry this fight through and to see real reform and health care in this country?" Schultz said. "Because, of course, I think everybody on the left knows that this was his passion, this was his cause."
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.
It's basic economics - when the economy contracts and the flow of money slows, so do tax receipts to local governments, barring maneuvering by the government to impose higher taxes. And that has been a focus of news stories, most notably the state budget woes that have recently hit California.
A June 22 "CBS Evening News" segment showed how, during this sluggish economy, the demand for state government social programs, like welfare, have increased across the county, even as cash-strapped states are in fiscal crisis. But the report didn't point to one of the biggest reasons for state deficits: irresponsible government growth.
"For the first time in 15 years, welfare numbers are up in at least 26 states," CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers said. "In Illinois, it's 3 percent, but in South Carolina the number is 23 percent, Florida 14 percent and California 10."
Does my headline bury the lede? On the one hand, it's catchy to hear Chris Matthews proclaim his belief that reparations for slavery "make sense."
But in the grand scheme of things, one more liberal pundit coming out for reparations might be small potatoes. Perhaps the bigger story was the statement on this evening's Hardball by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). The former head of the Congressional Black Caucus revealed that he saw nationalized health care as a part of reparations.
In John Harwood's Sunday Week in Review piece, "Rethinking The Reagan Mystique," he claimed Republicans are rejecting Ronald Reagan as a political inspiration and urging their party to look forward. He probably overstates the case. However, Harwood does come up with a novel insult of Reagan: The man the media labeled a heartless budget-cutter was actually a runaway spender in disguise!
For a liberal Democrat, President Obama has offered generous praise for the most celebrated of his recent Republican predecessors.
Mr. Obama has credited Ronald Reagan with having "changed the trajectory of America" in ways Bill Clinton didn't. "President Reagan helped as much as any president to restore a sense of optimism in our country, a spirit that transcended politics," Mr. Obama said earlier this month while signing the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act in the presence of Nancy Reagan.
It's not surprising that Mr. Obama has embraced Mr. Reagan's achievement since it seems akin to his own aspirations and might also ingratiate him with conservatives. What is surprising is the increasingly ambiguous position Mr. Reagan holds on the right.
As Californians go to the ballot box to vote whether or not to increase their taxes, government leaders in Sacramento are trotting out "the usual human shields" - kindergarteners, firefighters, policemen and nurses to frighten people into voting.
The ballot initiative, promoted by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has little to no chance of passing according to the Los Angeles Times. But that did stop the governor from using fear tactics, as Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck pointed out on his May 19 program.
"What's their plan to turn the state around? They have one?" Beck said. "Yes - the Governator, he proposed $15 billion in cuts. Wow. And he warned that if his, if his propositions failed, California will need to release 40,000 prisoners out on the streets."
In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama declared that he was going to "speak frankly and directly."
That's what I want to do as well. I want to speak frankly and directly to the many people who have written to me complaining that they aren't directly benefiting from the federal government's efforts to resuscitate our gasping economy.
The sniveling sentiments of these people come down to one question: "What about me?"
It appears that Singletary has an axe to grind. Apparently she sees the same sniveling sentiments across the country and wants to shut them up before they sour the President's bailout efforts.
For the Chicago Tribune, Romney supporter turned Obama man Douglas Kmiec indulged in quite a litany of name-calling, finger pointing and demagoguery against the GOP that would have been amazing from the same man only one year ago. Hopefully questioning "The Death of the GOP," Kmiec has shown that he no longer cares much how he is viewed, going full Democrat Partisan at this point.
In his Tribune article, Kmiec outrageously says that Republicans don't care about "helping" the country, that they denigrate the "values, hopes and planning of others," and have "no interest in family, work or neighborhood." After heaping such calumny onto the GOP, he then does further damage to poor Mitt Romney by happily reminding us that Romney is a "flip flopper" that should join the Obama administration. Some friend he is!
The morning show hosts reduce role of octuplets’ father to monetary supplier.
It’s a battle of materialism vs. morality on NBC’s Today show, and materialism is the clear winner. Apparently, the single mother of octuplets only needs their father for financial support.
In a February 6 preview of an exclusive interview with the Nadya Suleman, single mother of octuplets, the Today Show hosts mention the father of the octuplets only in terms of a financial provider, ignoring any moral obligation he might have, and failing to acknowledge that his involvement might be essential for successful parenting.
Reporter Jason DeParle garnered Monday's lead story slot in the New York Times with an investigation into how the U.S. welfare system, which went through enormous changes in 1996 after President Clinton signed a bill replacing cash entitlement with work requirements and time limits, is functioning state by state during tough economic times ("Welfare Aid Failing to Grow as Economy Lags)."
But DeParle might not be the most objective teller of this particular tale -- his reporting has always been opposed to the welfare reform bill pushed by the GOP and signed by Clinton. At the time, he called it "a bill that begrudges poor infants their Pampers" and warned of more homelessness, drug use, prostitution, and abortions, none of which came to pass.
DeParle doesn't acknowledge that in his story, which began:
Despite soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls last year, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years.
The trends, based on an analysis of new state data collected by The New York Times, raise questions about how well a revamped welfare system with great state discretion is responding to growing hardships.