Forbes just published its 20 Most Miserable Cities List for 2013. The magazine left off several obviously more "worthy" contenders, perhaps because its decisions to include and exclude certain criteria were, to say the least, more than a little odd.
I have listed the magazine's top twenty following the jump, along with each city's mayor and that person's political leanings, showing a commonality the magazine's Kurt Badenhausen failed to observe:
Yesterday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner featured a discussion about the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is anathema to the environmental left, and which President Obama cynically delayed a decision on until after the 2012 election. With the decision to approve or decline the project still looming for President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry -- who technically is the point person on approving the project -- Melinda Pierce of the Sierra Club was brought on the panel to discuss the pending doom we face with climate change, and disseminate the message that we can’t drill our way to energy independence.
To Wagner’s credit she did cite a piece from, of all things, Joe Nocera of the New York Times to give an alternative view to Pierce’s. Whereas Pierce responded by equating the approval of the pipeline to setting off a “carbon bomb”:
The journalists of Good Morning America on Friday adopted White House talking points, foreseeing a "fiscal emergency" that will "cripple" flights in the United States. Jon Karl warned, "When it comes to air travel, the first thing we'll all see are longer lines at airport security. Expect ten percent fewer TSA agents on the job." An ABC graphic blared, "Seven Days to Fiscal Emergency: Air Travel Could Be Crippled." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Karl highlighted Erskine Bowles, a Democrat and former chief of staff to Bill Clinton. It's true that Bowles is now on a bipartisan debt reduction panel, but he's certainly a partisan. Instead of informing viewers of this fact, Karl labeled him simply as a "prominent budget expert."
For the past six weeks combined, actual jobless claims filed nationwide have been virtually the same as the were during the six comparable weeks in early 2012.
You wouldn't know that from Christopher Rugaber's coverage at the Associated Press of the Department of Labor's unemployment claims report released yesterday. Rugaber, who described last month's jobs report showing the unemployment rate rising to 7.9 percent with a mediocre 157,000 jobs added (both figures are seasonally adjusted) as "mostly encouraging," wrote Thursday that the movement in jobless claims "suggests slow but steady improvement in the job market." If so, that "suggestion" is at best a whisper.
"[W]hat do you get for the serial human rights abuser who has everything?" the folks at Twitchy snarked today reacting to this tweet by CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour: "Happy Birthday, President Mugabe: http://on.cnn.com/VQ4kTK #Zimbabwe"
But wait, it gets better. The link in the tweet takes viewers to a short video [embedded below the page break] narrated by the CNN anchor, which opens with a strange comparison to Pope Benedict XVI:
MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Thursday echoed a liberal columnist and mocked the idea of blaming Barack Obama for sequester spending cuts, even though it was the President's idea. On Thursday's Daily Rundown, Todd sneered, "Of all the dumb things Washington does, this 'who started it' argument has proven to be one of the dumber ones, especially since we're so close to the actual cuts going into place." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Todd's talking points sound very similar to assertions made by liberal Newsweek/Daily Beast writer Michael Tomasky. On Tuesday, he admitted that Obama came up with the plan, but wondered why it matters. The sub-headline offered this Daily Beast article proclaimed, "Conservatives keep reminding everyone that the sequester was Obama’s idea. But, says Michael Tomasky, that doesn’t mean he’s to blame for the current crisis."
The media don't care about the fact the the sequester was President Obama's idea in the first place, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on the February 20 edition of CNBC's Kudlow Report. What's more, the media certainly don't care that the sequester will impose a mere two percent reduction in federal spending, hardly a "meat cleaver" approach to reducing spending.
The media are "beyond redemption" on the issue, so it's up to the Republican Party to directly make their case to the American people, the Media Research Center founder insisted during a panel segment with liberal economist Jared Bernstein and conservative former New York congresswoman Nan Hayworth (R). "What the Republican Party should be saying to Mr. and Mrs. America is this is an out-of-control government and they can't even cut two percent without claiming that the world is going to come to an end.... This should be a no-brainer." [To watch the full segment, click play on the video embedded below the page break]
Yesterday, the Department of Labor announced that it had certified "more than 18,000 former Hostess workers around the country as eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance." I'll save excerpts from DOL's inane announcement for after the jump.
The story has garnered some local coverage in areas affected by Hostess plant closures late last year, including a couple of regional Associated Press stories. But the AP, based on a search on "hostess," did not have a story at its national site as of 9 a.m. today, even though former Hostess workers in 48 states are affected. Additionally, virtually every story found in a Google News search on "Hostess trade adjustment" (not in quotes) is local in nature. Could this possibly be because doling out tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to workers whose unions thought the company was bluffing when it said it would throw in the towel without acceptable labor contracts is more than a little embarrassing, especially when President Barack Obama is simultaneously claiming that the federal government will have no choice but to lay off and furlough employees if sequestration takes place?
I am indebted to Amity Shlaes for gently correcting a joke of mine that dates back to July 8, 1972. On that date in the New York Times, I joshed that President Calvin Coolidge "probably spent more time napping than any president in the nation's history" and therefore was a successful president. My joke was a play on an earlier joke by H. L. Mencken, and now Shlaes has corrected both of us. She has written a very impressive biography titled simply "Coolidge," wherein she never mentions Cal's naps but rather what made him the most successful president of the 1920s. He reversed the economic insolvency of President Woodrow Wilson, and set the economy on the road to growth, a road made rocky by Cal's successor, President Herbert Hoover, and rockier still by Hoover's successor, Franklin Roosevelt.
Though one would not know it today, Coolidge was the most successful president of the 1920s. Vice President Coolidge came to the presidency on the death of President Warren G. Harding in August 1923 and won the presidency outright in 1924 with 54 percent of the vote over the Democrat, John W. Davis, who had 28.8 percent of the vote, and the Progressive, Robert M. La Follette, who won just 16.6 percent of the vote. Moreover, Coolidge had won every race he ever contested from his first run for city councilman in 1898 to the governorship of Massachusetts in 1918, usually by astoundingly large margins. His combination of civility, effectiveness, standing by the law and, as president, tax cuts, budget balancing, and growth, was wildly popular with American voters, as was his singular asset, taciturnity.
This goes back about ten days, and I originally missed it. Fortunately, though, an Investor's Business Daily editorial got around to mentioning Rick Perry's visit to California last week in an effort to lure businesses to the more commerce-friendly environs of Texas.
Associated Press report Juliet Williams and her story's headline writer were not amused by Perry's aggressiveness. Williams seemed to be bucking to have her picture placed next to the words "petty" and "vindictive" in the dictionary. Several paragraph from her February 11 coverage of Perry's visit to the formerly Golden State follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
While the President and his media minions are trying to scare everyone into thinking that if the sequestration on federal spending goes through on March 1 it will be the end of the world, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer had a different view Wednesday.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said, "This is the most ridiculously hyped Armageddon since the Mayan calendar" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Wednesday's CBS This Morning played up the supposedly gargantuan cuts in government spending that would go into the effect if the sequester goes into effect on March 1. Charlie Rose trumpeted the "massive spending cuts" set to take effect, while Gayle King underlined that the "deep automatic spending cuts" were quickly approaching. But neither anchor pointed out that $85 billion in cuts come out of a $3.5 trillion federal budget.
Correspondent Bill Plante hyped the effect of the possible "massive layoffs" on the Washington, DC region. But he only included one soundbite from a Republican/conservative, while playing three clips from President Obama and second Democrat.
After hyping the "draconian" sequester cuts set to take place March 1, CNN kept up its frenzy on Tuesday afternoon by spreading government hysteria over the $85 billion spending reduction. Headlines sounded alarms like "Medicine, Food at Risk," "Travel Nightmare In the Making," and "U.S. justice system in jeopardy."
"President Obama is warning of dire consequences for all of us if lawmakers don't act quickly," The Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer channeled White House angst. "The President clearly wants all of us to be very, very worried about the budget axe that's about to fall," he hyped during the 6 p.m. ET hour. "The President has said it's an issue of national security," reported correspondent Joe Johns on cuts to the justice system. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On the front of Saturday's Business section, New York Times economics reporter Annie Lowrey flatteringly quoted unlabeled left-wing French economist Emmanuel Saez, who may be the Times' favorite economist, in yet another hang-wringer on the evils of income inequality and the dreaded 1%: "Incomes Flat In Recovery, But Not For the 1%."
In an October 2012 article Lowrey termed Saez, who favors huge tax hikes on the rich in the name of fighting inequality, a "respected economist." On Saturday she further beefed up Saez's resume to assuage any doubt among her readers, calling him "a winner of the John Bates Clark Medal, an economic laurel considered second only to the Nobel."
Even though the upcoming sequester cuts amount to only $85 billion, compared to $16 trillion of U.S. debt, CNN hyped the deleterious effects of the cuts to the economy by comparing them to the recent asteroid that just missed earth.
"Watch out. Like the asteroid headed to earth, they're coming. $86 billion in automatic budget cuts," anchor Carol Costello warned. And "draconian" was in the CNN talking points as Costello and her colleague Christine Romans repeatedly gave that label to the cuts. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Their disingenuous complaint: The Obama administration supposedly has insurmountable technological and resource edges over the establishment press attempting to cover it. Because of those advantages, VandeHei and Allen claim, in essence (my words, except for the internal quote), "It's not our fault that President Obama is 'a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.' So if you dumb skeptics and conservatives think the problem is media bias, you're wrong. We're powerless against the puppet master." The first four paragraphs of the pair's insufferable dreck, which I believe is all that readers will be able to tolerate, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Last Friday’s All Things Considered segment on NPR was a real treat because David Brooks was absent, and therefore, couldn’t be his squishy self alongside liberal columnist E.J. Dionne. National Review’s Mona Charen, a real conservative, filled in for the New York Times pseudo-Republican, and effectively countered Dionne’s Obama cheerleading.
The two were asked by host Robert Siegel to analyze the president’s State of the Union address last week, and to no one’s surprise – that Dionne was fawning over the speech, while Charen took a more pragmatic approach.
During yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, Washington Post editor Bob Woodward, who wrote the book "The Price of Politics" on how Obama handled the debt-ceiling fiasco in 2011, explained again to his media colleagues that it was a White House initiative to use a hatchet with these budgetary matters in the form of sequestration.
When Fox host Chris Wallace suggested the news media would highlight every spending-cut casualty expected from sequestration, liberal analyst Juan Williams agreed: "I think the news media will play into that at every level." Wallace asked Woodward to repeat his reporting:
Liz Sidoti's offering this morning at the Associated Press, which is clearly a serious competitor for Worst AP Item Ever, carries the "column" label. As such, I suppose we're expected to accept the idea that the "analysis" offered is hers alone.
But you would think that the self-described "essential global news network" would have enough business judgment to review a reporter's work to make sure it doesn't talk down to the general public and indict its own reporting on the economy at the same time. You would be wrong, as will be seen after the jump.
On Sunday, 35,000 protestors marched on the Washington Mall urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, giving the Washington Post’s Steven Mufson ample space to hype the march. In the 20 paragraph expose, the Post fails to label the protestors as liberal once and does not include any quotes from supporters of the pipeline, instead choosing to hype their global warming hysteria.
Instead, the article is peppered with liberal quotes, while criticizing President Obama from the left:
Leaders of the rally said they wanted to press Obama to follow up on the strong rhetoric in his inaugural address about the need to slow climate change. The official posters at the rally borrowed Obama’s campaign slogan “forward.” The read: “Mr. President, Forward-on Climate.”
Here's something to keep in mind in the context of the past several years, as well as during the current runup in gas prices: They're more than likely higher than the press's reported "national averages."
On Friday, the Associated Press reported the following concerning gas prices: "The national average is $3.64 a gallon, up a cent and a half from Thursday, with the highest prices in California, the Northeast and the Midwest." It would appears that the press typically uses GasBuddy.com for its national average quote, which is currently just above $3.68. I really don't intend to knock the web site, whose primary mission is to help consumers find the cheapest gas prices in their neighborhood. But their quoted "national average" appears to really be the average of each of the 50 states plus DC giving each state equal weight, without any accounting for states' widely varying populations. And yes, the difference matters by enough that it's worth noting.
On Friday, Renee Dudley at Bloomberg News exposed the contents of February 12 internal emails revealing that Walmart executives are worried -- very worried -- about sales during the first 10 to 14 days of the its most current fiscal period (mostly likely either the first 10 days of February if the company works with calendar months, or 14 days if it began the second period of the fiscal year on Monday January 28).
Their primary concerns are the payroll tax hike and delayed tax refunds, but they may also need to start worrying about higher gas prices (bolds are mine):
Anyone who thinks that setting a parody site of PolitiFact would be a good idea should reconsider. The site already parodies what a true fact-checking effort would look like on a nearly daily basis.
On Tuesday, the site's Molly Moorhead evaluated Marco Rubio's claim during his State of the Union response speech that spending cuts involved in sequestration were originally the idea of President Barack Obama and the White House. Of course they were. But after admitting that the "(The Price of Politics author Bob) Woodward’s reporting shows clearly that defense sequestration was an idea that came out of Obama’s White House," she still evaluated Rubio's claim as only "half-true" (bolds are mine):
Ed Schultz was in seventh heaven, lionizing Elizabeth Warren [new first name 'Sheriff'] for the way she grilled financial regulators for failing to take big banks to trial.
Just one teenie-weenie factoid Ed failed to mention: those two regulators he showed Warren scalding during his MSNBC show tonight were appointed by, yup, President Barack Obama. View the video after the jump.
When a news story is too newsworthy to ignore but too embarrassing to the Obama administration to highlight, what's a liberal newspaper editor to do? Why, bury it, of course. That's what Washington Post editors did to Steven Mufson's February 14 story on an inspector general's report finding, surprise, surprise, that taxpayer monies on another Obama-hyped green energy project have gone to waste.
What's more, the Post's editor's assigned the item a boring headline, "Report: Grant to battery company was mismanaged."
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) looks mighty good for a woman who has to be at least 148 years old.
My take on her age is based on a statement the Congresswoman made today while objecting to impending spending reductions relating to sequestration in which she characterized herself as "a freed slave." Slavery as a legal institution ended in the U.S. in 1865 at the end of the Civil War. Here is what Ms. Jackson Lee said, in context (HT Rush Limbaugh):
Supposedly conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks exposed more of his liberal stripes on Tuesday, telling the Republican Party it needs to rethink its core message. Appearing on PBS’s post-State of the Union coverage, Brooks said he was disappointed with the response delivered by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) because it delivered the typical message of traditional conservative principles.
He continued: [Video after the jump. MP3 audio here.]