Not to be outdone in the pious-sounding eco-rhetoric, the San Francisco Chronicle's Thin Green Line blog today warns tech geeks and video game aficionados against the original sin of technological advance:
Technology, at times, offers a magic key into the environmental garden of Eden, where humans can use energy and feel good about it. But, at times, it can be the serpent tempting us to eat the apple that will mean our eviction.
Blogger Cameron Scott goes on to explain that the wages of tech are carbon, tons and tons of carbon:
"There are new concerns tonight about the effects of global warming," "Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt said. "A new study warns rapidly melting ice in Greenland could result in a colossal rise in ocean levels."
But for every report "Nightly News" has shown over the years claiming the ice melt as evidence climate change is occurring, there are many contrary anecdotes the network ignores. For example, ice in Antarctica is expanding according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado (The Australian reported the growth of ice in Antarctica in April 2009), which has gone unreported by NBC.
Early this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I posted on the Associated Press's treatment of the firing of two employees at ACORN's Baltimore office. These employees were successfully stung by undercover filmmaker James O'Keefe, who posed as a pimp (one who said he has plans to use the money from his "enterprise" to run for Congress), and Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute.
In a pair of videos (full script here) released on Thursday, viewers saw the two helpful ACORN Baltimore employees tell O'Keefe and Giles, among many jaw-dropping things, that:
Giles should call herself a “freelance performing artist” for tax purposes.
That they should claim three of 13 underage girls the pair planned to bring in from El Salvador to work as prostitutes as dependents.
That the prostitute should also claim child tax credits for those declared as "dependents."
O'Keefe and Giles piled on Friday morning by releasing a second pair of videos showing that they had pulled off a similar sting at ACORN's DC office.
But if we're to believe the Associated Press's Hope Yen, Friday's out of the blue decision by the Census Bureau to sever its ties with ACORN in connection with the 2010 census had nothing or at most very little to do with what O'Keefe and Giles pulled off. Instead, Yen portrayed the decision as a cave-in to the minority party in Washington known as Republicans. Uh-huh.
Give Sharon Silke Carty of USA Today credit for unearthing important information about the serious back-office problems with Uncle Sam's Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, popularly known as "Cash for Clunkers."
But Carty didn't do nearly as much as she could have with the information she learned. Her most grievous oversights were her failures to compare the government's newly promised payment timetable to the 10 days dealers were told to expect, and to explain to her readers the extra unreimbursed costs dealers will have incurred as a result of the program even if (emphasis if) dealers receive full payment for their Clunker transactions.
There must have been a twitch in the universe on Wednesday evening as NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams – who has a history of highlighting concerns of interest to the environmentalist left – actually ran a story highlighting complaints by some Europeans that the "going green" movement is going too far as the European Union is banning the use of old-fashioned lightbulbs in favor of a more energy efficient model. Correspondent Dawna Friesen noted that the new bulbs not only are more expensive but that the quality of light produced is inferior to traditional lightbulbs, as she warned that the same ban is coming to America in just a few years.
Williams’s history of devoting time to environmental issues has included such notable episodes as the time he confessed to fretting about whether he should choose paper or plastic at the grocery store -- which he referred to as "quaking with fear" -- as well as a discussion from his days anchoring MSNBC’s News with Brian Williams on whether it was "downright unpatriotic" to drive an SUV after the 9/11 attacks because of America's dependence on oil imports. So, if even Brian Williams has hesitation about switching over to these newer-style bulbs, they must really be awful.
On the very day Ted Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery near his two brothers, a Boston Globe editorial argued to undo part of his legacy.
The pertinent portion of Mr. Kennedy's legacy has to do with his strident opposition, despite a career of enthusiastically imposing environmental initiatives and costs on others, to the building of a wind farm on Cape Cod (the graphic at top right is from a 2006 post at a Greenpeace web site).
The ever-opportunistic Globe wrote a 450-word editorial virtually demanding that President Barack Obama get work started on Nantucket Sound right now, this very instant (HT to an e-mailer):
They warned back in 2008 what might happen if Barack Obama was elected president, and according to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck, a lot of bad stuff is unfolding right before our eyes.
Limbaugh appeared on Beck's Aug. 26 program to discuss the threat of the federal government attempting to regulate the media. He explained the president's policy maneuvers were evidence that this can happen - with very limited opposition in the media.
"The stimulus plan - Glenn, look at what they're doing to the U.S. economy," Limbaugh said. "Anybody with a sense of economic literacy would know that this is not how you create jobs. You do not rebuild the private sector. This is being done on purpose. All of these disasters are exactly what Obama wants - the more crises, the better, the more opportunity for government to say let us in and fix the problem. And, with his number one opposition is on radio and Fox News. His number one opposition is on radio. They can't go Fairness Doctrine because it's too obvious. So, they're trying to do this backdoor route with diversity and ownership, a 100-percent tax on operating in order to pay public radio because they're supposedly fair."
State-controlled General Motors issued a supposedly comprehensive 8-K report to the Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday.
If you only read the Associated Press's coverage of that document's release courtesy of reporter Tom Krisher, you would at least know that:
The company doesn't expect sales to improve during the rest of the calendar year.
That the $50 billion in post-bankruptcy funding it has received (over and above tens of billions in other forms of aid ranging from bailout loan write-offs to pension relief, none of which Krisher mentioned) may not last beyond "the short-term," which in accounting parlance usually means a year.
Despite the item just mentioned, GM has taken steps to get ready for a hoped-for initial public offering next year. (Though only time will tell, yours truly, as explained below, thinks this move looks more like posturing and misdirection than anything substantive.)
All of that is nice, but the fact remains that GM produced no second quarter financial results. Further, as I noted this weekend, GM has said that second quarter financials won't be coming out for a long time, if ever.
Yours truly and others have since April noted a precipitous and likely historic dive in Uncle Sam's monthly collections. Year-over-year declines actually began last summer. The degree of monthly fall-offs has gotten "progressively" worse since then.
Yesterday, the Associated Press finally went beyond blandly reciting year-to-date comparisons to note the historic significance of the cash crash at the Treasury. Even then, Stephen Ohlemacher's report understated the degree of the decline in receipts from economic activity (i.e., excluding last year's stimulus payments, which were treated by Treasury as "negative receipts"). He also only carried his analysis through June 2009, even though sufficient information about the full month of July was available in Treasury's last daily statement of the month released yesterday afternoon.
CNN correspondent Carol Costello aired a fair report on Friday’s American Morning about the several states which passed resolutions that asserted their rights under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and asked for viewer responses on the issue, but later stated that her “favorite [viewer] comment so far...‘asking for states’ rights is asking, you know, the children to be the parents’” [audio clips from the report are available here].
Costello began her report, which aired just before the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour, with the question, “should states’ rights trump the fed?” She also highlighted the premise that “the concept of states’ rights is as old as America.”
The CNN correspondent used three sound bites from Texas Governor Rick Perry’s speech to a tea party in April 2009, which was widely circulated around the Internet. She also featured clips from an Republican state legislator from Oklahoma and a constitutional law professor.
Did someone make this "Declare Your Devotion To a Dem Day" at MSNBC? You have to wonder. During the network's noon hour, Dr. Nancy Snyderman declared herself a "big fan" of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Not to be outdone, during the following hour Andrea Mitchell ended her interview with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Ia.) by thanking him profusely—and I mean at length—for having pushed through passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act 19 years ago today.
When historians look back to identify the pivotal moments in the nation's struggle against obesity, they might point to the current period as the moment when those who influenced opinion and made public policy decided it was time to take the gloves off.
"The more these things are made public, the more the American people run like hell from them," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell told the hosts of "Fox & Friends", referring to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that shows Democratic health care proposals will balloon in costs over their implementation. [audio available here]
Indeed, as the Washington Post reported this morning, the latest polling data from Washington Post/ABC News shows that President Obama's approval rating on the health care issue "has dropped below the 50 percent threshold for the first time."
"Here's something else that isn't being reported. The entire health care debate is predicated on the premise that we're having a crisis," Bozell added, referring to new polling data by Zogby International showing that "84 percent of Americans are satisfied or very satisfied with their present health care." What's more, "46 percent without insurance are satisfied, they don't want it, for whatever reason. So there is no crisis."
In addition to media coverage of the health care debate, the NewsBusters publisher also appeared in a second segment of the July 20 "Fox & Friends" to discuss the labor union card check issue, as well as to announce the MRC's new tongue-in-cheek request for a federal bailout:
BMI's Julia A. Seymour discussed the media's sparse reporting on health care reform's impact on small businesses July 16 on the Fox Business Network. Anchor Stuart Varney asked, "Is Washington waging war on small business? And is the news media ignoring it?" Seymour told him:
Yes, I think in - in many cases they are. If you look at last night's evening news coverage of this health care reform bill, or as you, you called it, uh, wealth reform bill, two networks out of three ignored the plight of small businesses altogether. Only CBS' Chip Reid did a story talking about the impact of sma- on small business of this bill.
CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer often showcases erratic and unpredictable behavior and the same goes sometimes for his analysis of the stock market.
While the economy continues to struggle through the recession, the forward-looking indicators known as the financial markets continue to perplex Cramer for not going up when some positive signs, also known as "green shoots" by the financial media, are starting show. According to his analysis - it's the government and a reliance on oil futures that have scared off investors.
"How did we reach this point where investors just can't be bothered to respond to clear unalloyed positives or be tempted by low, low prices of so many stocks?" Cramer said. "I think we've been worn down, I think we've been worn down by two different things - first, the government and then oil. And they're what's keeping everyone apathetic about stocks."
Two major wire services- AP and Reuters- cherry picked excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical (a teaching document of the Catholic Church) on Tuesday to support left-wing economic and political positions, and all but ignored the pontiff’s traditional stances on the family, bioethics, and the environment. The AP also went so far to bring up “the state of the Vatican’s own [financial] books.”
Both Philip Pullella, who regularly writes about the Pope and the Vatican for Reuters, and the AP’s Nicole Winfield zeroed in on paragraph 67 of the encyclical, which is titled “Caritas in Veritate,” or “Charity in Truth,” which was released was signed by the Bishop of Rome on June 29, and released on Tuesday. In this paragraph, to use Pullella’s lede, “Pope Benedict…called for a ‘world political authority’ to manage the global economy.” Winfield put it this way near the beginning of her article: “In the third encyclical of his pontificate, Benedict pressed for reform of the United Nations and international economic and financial institutions to give poorer countries more of a say in international policy.”
While Pope Benedict did call for a “world political authority” and a “reform of the United Nations,” both authors (not to mention spectators on the left and the right) missed the context of this call. Later in his article, Pullella speculated that “the pope appeared to back government intervention ‘in correcting errors and malfunctions’ in the economy, saying ‘one could foresee an increase in the new forms of political participation, nationally and internationally.’” But this “government intervention” would not go so far to the level of a micromanaging/centrally-planning regime, if one goes by the pontiff’s own words in the encyclical.
In the later paragraphs of a story today about the latest hurdle bailed-out General Motors has managed to jump to get out of bankruptcy, the Associated Press's Bree Fowler almost totally ignored the impact of Ford's improvement largely at GM's expense during the first half of 2009, acting as if GM's decline has almost solely been the result of defections to foreign competitors.
Fowler's only mention of Ford comes in connection with its new, apparently redesigned Fiesta. Fowler makes it appear to the relatively uninformed reader that the Fiesta is appearing on the market for the first time.
The news cycle has been dominated by celebrity deaths - Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and even TV pitchman Billy Mays - and President Barack Obama's health care initiative. Obama has used the compliant media to keep the focus to health care, and they are neglecting a critical largest news event that could impact the lives of every man, woman and child for the foreseeable future.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a 1,200-page climate change bill known as the "American Clean Energy and Security Act" sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. and Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., by a narrow 219-212 vote on June 26.
Prospects for that piece of environmental legislation might have been hurt had reporters pointed out the scientific censorship taking place in the Obama administration. A veteran of the Environmental Protection Agency strongly questioned the theory of manmade global warming in a report that was then silenced by the administration. That's exactly the opposite of how many journalists handled a similar controversy during the Bush administration.
On June 26, the House narrowly passed the controversial Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy & Security Act to limit carbon emissions, but USA Today readers can be forgiven for not knowing it. Instead of covering a hotly debated bill that could result in “the largest tax increase in history,” the newspaper devoted its’ coverage to the death of pop star Michael Jackson.
Jackson, who passed away June 25, dominated USA Today. Nine articles were devoted to Jackson on June 26 and 29. The June 26 front page blared: “MICHAEL King of Pop dies” over a photo of Jackson that took up much of the remainder of the page. The top of USA Today advertised: “Faces of Jackson: Keepsake posters, 8-9D.” Jackson also was the headline on June 29: “Inside Michael’s Last Show.”
Noteworthy from Friday night's broadcast network evening newscasts which, a day after his death, spent 95 percent of their air time on Michael Jackson -- all but 1:03 of ABC's approximate 22 minutes was devoted to Jackson, all but 34 seconds of CBS and all but 1:22 of NBC, for 2:59, less than three minutes in total for all news beyond Jackson:
♦ Only ABC's World News reported how Monica Conyers, a Detroit city councilwoman married to powerful U.S. House Democrat John Conyers, pled guilty to accepting bribes. But anchor Charles Gibson, who on Wednesday night made sure to identify Mark Sanford as “a rising star in the Republican Party,” failed to name the party affiliation for either Monica Conyers or John Conyers, and neither did any on-screen graphic. Speaking of Detroit, last year, when Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with felonies, Gibson (as well as the CBS and NBC anchors) didn't consider Kilpatrick's party worth mentioning.
♦ ABC also uniquely found a little time, a mere 20 seconds, to mention House action on President Obama's “cap and trade” bill. As noted by the MRC's Business and Media Institute, for months the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts have barely covered the bill “that would cost each family $1,241 a year.” CBS and NBC kept up the near-blackout again Friday night. Gibson outlined how “the bill would impose limits pollution from power plants and factories and force a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” but also noted: “Critics charge it will drive up energy costs for consumers.”
Can food taste too good? Yes, if you're New York Times health columnist Tara Parker-Pope. Her Tuesday "Well" column for the Times is currently the #1 most emailed article on nytimes.com, and is an interview with former Food and Drug Administration head (and over-zealous banner of orange juice and silicon-gel breast implants) David Kessler on his new book, with the typically scolding title, "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite."
A Times headline writer took the same hectoring cue, eschewing personal responsibility for what people eat and blaming it all on food industry mind control: "How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains." Parker-Pope, via Kessler, actually comes out against food manufacturers for making their products tastes good.
As head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. David A. Kessler served two presidents and battled Congress and Big Tobacco. But the Harvard-educated pediatrician discovered he was helpless against the forces of a chocolate chip cookie.
Journalists, take note: Dylan Ratigan should be your model.
Despite working for MSNBC, Ratigan has shown a hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners interview style that is quickly gaining him the reputation for being the toughest interview on television. It isn’t often that an MSNBC host can claim to be tough on both sides of the political aisle, but the former CNBC correspondent could probably do it with a straight face and a clear conscience.
This morning, for example, Ratigan was brought in as a hired gun of sorts, to speak with Obama’s Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), Dr. Christina Romer. Typically, in interviews with White House economic wonks, TV personalities can easily be blown away by the technical rhetoric of economists. Typically, these wonks sound very much like they know what they’re talking about, even when they are in fact dodging the question. This was not a typical interview in either regard.
For example, to kick things off, Ratigan asks a rather technical question:
ABC and CBS's morning shows on Wednesday both provided surprisingly tough questioning to Christina Romer, one of Barack Obama's economic advisors. On the issue of health care, Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer compared the costs of Medicare to the new health care plan and pointed out past government inaccuracies when it came to accessing cost.
She grilled, "You know, in 1965, everyone was told that over 25 years, the cost of Medicare would be $12 billion. The actual cost, $107 billion." Sawyer added, "Ten-times what the estimate was. Can you know this cost? And can you guarantee it's not going to be more than the administration believes?" Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez quizzed Romer, the Chairwoman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, on Obama's repeated insistence that he has no interest in meddling in the private sector. She wondered, "He sounds like he's being forced to do these things. If he believes that big government is actually a bad thing, why doesn't he at least try less intrusive options, which are certainly be offered up?"
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer complained about America's maternity leave policies for women, and for the fourth time in slightly more than two years, the show connected them to such struggling countries as Swaziland and Papua New Guinea. The host solemnly observed that only three countries "have policies equal to the United States. Swaziland, Liberia and Papua New Guinea."
Sawyer, who was introducing a segment on how women are afraid to take much maternity leave during the recession, derided, "Even in Iraq, women get one year of leave, six months at full pay, and six months of half pay." Linking the U.S. to such poor countries was, perhaps, intended to horrify viewers. However, the ABC anchor left out some key stats, such as the fact that nations mandating paid maternity leave, such as Germany, often also have high unemployment rates.
As for the countries Sawyer mentioned, Swaziland also has an unemployment rate of 40 percent, an infant mortality rate of 70 percent and a life expectancy of 32. Papua New Guinea's unemployment rate is up to 80 percent in some urban areas. So, there seems to be some differences between America and these countries.
A fabulous 1934 Chicago Tribune cartoon that has recently been making the rounds in the blogosphere as an example of history sadly repeating itself was marvelously rerun at the paper's website on June 10.
In it, members of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration are seen shoveling money out of a wagon with a billboard on the side declaring, "Depleting the resources of the soundest government in the world."
On Wednesday, the Trib reprinted the cartoon with the caption "This is a 1934 Chicago Tribune political cartoon that many say rings true in today's political and economic climate. What do you think?" (full, largely legible print below the fold along with an explanation of the characters uncovered by The Federal Observer, h/t NBer Gary Hall):
You can't make this stuff up. The titled quote comes from a Bloomberg story today about new GM Chairman Ed Whitacre. You also can't make up most of the media's calm acceptance of yet another person heavily involved with running General Motors, aka Government Motors, who knows next to nothing about cars except as a consumer who drives them.
At least it's refreshing that this guy has experience running a business, which is more than you can say about the other two architects of the company as it currently subsists.
On May 31, the New York Times put out a fawning portrayal of the a Mr. Brian Deese, the guy who was the only full-timer on President-elect and then President Obama's car team from Election Night until mid-February.
Fasten your seat belts, this guy's lack of any kind of pedigree will have you death-gripping the steering wheel, as will the smug dismissiveness of a business system that has been the most successful in human history:
Actor Jon Voight, who recently spoke critically of President Obama at a Republican fundraiser, appeared on Tuesday's The O'Reilly Factor to reiterate his problems with Obama. After recounting that America was "warned" by Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden during the Democratic primary season that Obama "had no experience" and was a "novice," the conservative actor reminded FNC viewers of the unheeded warnings about Obama's connections to questionable figures like Bill Ayers and the Reverend Jeremiah Wright:
Look, he was a fellow who was associated with all the wrong people. The signs were up. His associations with Bill Ayers, Alinsky, with ACORN, with Pfleger, with Wright. But no one seemed to take the warnings. And his inexperience was quite evident.
Should it be the role of the government to determine what amount of risk is appropriate in the private sector? President Barack Obama could have been interpreted as suggesting that much in comments he made about TARP repayments on June 9.
CNBC's Rick Santelli responded to those comments earlier in the day from Obama, "that those who seek reward do not take reckless risks." Santelli said on CNBC's "Power Lunch" that it's not the role of the government to make those judgments.
"It makes me a little nervous and some of the people on the floor express this - whether it was the end of the last administration or the current administration, you know to really understand what's wrong and what needs to be right - that statement's very un-American," Santelli said. "You know, why should the government think they know the magic blend of risk and reward? It's the government's role not to fall asleep at the switch, not to have products that are unregulated and to have speed limits."
Even if they ultimately lose their last-minute court battle, the Indiana pension funds defending their rights as secured first-lien creditors of Chrysler have done a valuable deed.
We have learned, among many other things, how at least one government lawyer characterized the funds' lawyer, Thomas Lauria.
A $10,000 Democratic Party donor, Lauria, despite clear evidence of intimidation of his originally larger pool of clients by Barack Obama himself (in his April 30 speech announcing the company's bankruptcy filing) and his car guys, has nonetheless bravely pursued the important contract law and fiduciary duty issues involved in the shortchanging of his clients for several weeks.
Wait until you see the word the government lawyer used to describe Lauria.