Americans like their toilet tissue soft: exotic confections that are silken, thick and hot-air-fluffed.
The national obsession with soft paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra -- which in 2008 alone increased its sales by 40 percent in some markets, according to Information Resources, Inc., a marketing research firm.
But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them.
Naturally, America is to blame:
Other countries are far less picky about toilet tissue. In many European nations, a rough sheet of paper is deemed sufficient. Other countries are also more willing to use toilet tissue made in part or exclusively from recycled paper.
Rick Sentelli's rant for the ages (transcript here) on CNBC's Squawk Box yesterday criticizing the recently passed stimulus package and the Obama administration's mortgage modification program was marred somewhat by the studio hosts. Though their tone was semi-humorous, it's telling that their instincts were to characterize the traders present at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as a "mob," and to assume that Santelli somehow controlled them ("putty in your hands"). When Santelli suggested a Chicago Tea Party, one of the hosts warned that Mayor Daley and the National Guard would be mobilized.
In October of last year, in a memorable exchange on the day that history may decide was when American free-market capitalism entered the point of no return, CNBC reporters seemed somewhat amused that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson had "put a (figurative) gun to the heads" of major bank CEOs to force them to accept government "investment."
Well if you don't mind my asking, will we see any reaction out of CNBC's studio folks to an example of real mob rule in the mortgage marketplace?
Lost in the overall cratering in the stock market yesterday in reaction to Tim Geithner's awful "soiled the bed" TARP II presentation yesterday -- New York Times Company stock closed at $4.23. As of 3:30 PM today, the stock was up 12 cents.
While "pleased to see" that ABC did not ignore his concerns, in a letter responding to Smith the NewsBusters publisher denounced as "unfortunate how inadequately, disingenuously and indeed dishonestly" the network brass has chosen to respond to his criticism:
First, it's the original Politico story that reported that for 17 years Mr. Stephanopoulos has been participating in regular strategy calls with fellow Democrats. To quote from the story, "... in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington's prevailing political and media interpretation - at least on the Democratic side - is being hatched on these calls."
That is not my willful and knowing distortion; it's the Politico's reporting. If you believe the story is false, then you have a fight with Politico, not me.
Big business, the supposedly right-wing, conservative entity that thwarts "progress" and advocates against left-wing economic policies sure doesn't seem to be acting that way of late.
Of course it never really does but that is beside the point. AP reporter Stephen Manning chronicles how corporate America is trying to cash in on Barack Obama's inauguration in an unprecedented, literal selling of a president:
The guys hawking Barack Obama T-shirts and trinkets on the corners of downtown Washington have some new competition in the selling frenzy building up to the president-elect's inauguration Tuesday - Corporate America.
Companies ranging from global giants like soda and snacks maker PepsiCo to a local grocery chain offering cakes with Obama's face in icing are jumping on the Obama commercial wave. Others, like the Swedish home store Ikea, are hoping consumers take Obama's mantra of "change" to heart so much that they go out and buy furniture to mark the change in the White House.
Are you a latte liberal who can't make the pilgrimage to D.C. for the Obama inauguration? Or do you think that if you did, you'd in the January chill without your mid-day brew? Well, MSNBC is looking out for you!
The Obama leg-thrill network has teamed up with Starbucks Coffee to open more than 600 java joint locations in New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco.
Not into coffee? MSNBC also has movie theaters dedicated to the ceremony, although sitting next to Chris Matthews in a dark room watching Obama sounds a little sketchy to me.
Ever since the financial services industry totally melted down in September, anti-free market media have pointed an accusatory finger at deregulation as the primary cause of bank, brokerage firm, and insurance company failures.
Yet, as press outlets across the fruited plain deal with declining revenues and layoffs, some believe a looser anti-trust environment could be the solution.
Even more delicious, one such advocate, Variety's Brian Lowry, used to be a deregulation opponent as evident in his Wednesday column:
Despite conservative grumblings of liberal bias, Internet behemoth Google has for years claimed its search engine exclusively uses algorithms to provide accurate and impartial results for those interested in finding out information concerning a particular subject.
Google's CEO Eric Schmidt affirmed this contention while speaking to a group of conservative bloggers during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this past September.
According to the British Register, such a digitally impartial procedure, assuming it indeed exists today, may at some time in the future be altered:
NBC Universal made the first of potentially several rounds of staffing cuts at The Weather Channel (TWC) on Wednesday, axing the entire staff of the "Forecast Earth" environmental program .....
The layoffs totaled about 10 percent of the workforce, and are among the first major changes made since NBC completed its purchase of the venerable weather network in September.
..... The timing of the Forecast Earth cancellation was ironic, since it came in the middle of NBC's "Green Week," during which the network has been touting its environmental coverage across all of its platforms. Forecast Earth normally aired on weekends, but its presumed last episode was shown on a weekday due to the environmentally-oriented week.
Is MSNBC being rewarded for having backed Obama? That's what Jim Pinkerton suggests. On this evening's Fox News Watch, the columnist and New America Foundation fellow cited the news that GE Capital, a subsidiary of MSNBC's parent company GE, has received a $139 billion government loan guarantee.
Host Jon Scott opened this evening's show opened with a clip of Chris Matthews [in a story that NB was first to report], saying that he saw as his "job" making the Obama presidency a success. Pinkerton unloaded.
With General Motors in serious trouble, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., are making a push for the government to intervene and rescue the auto giant as they did with AIG. However, Francesco Guerrera, U.S. editor for the Financial Times, isn't so sure a GM failure would be as bad as some are letting on.
Guerrera appeared on CNBC's Nov. 10 "Power Lunch" to weigh the pros and cons of the newly revised AIG (NYSE:AIG) rescue package. He was asked if this type of government intervention should be offered for General Motors (NYSE:GM).
"That's what they say," Guerrera said. "I'm not sure I buy that. I think there'll be a lot of job losses if GM fails, but there's nothing systemic in the sense that if AIG goes or if, you know, one of the other banks goes - there'll be a ripple effect throughout not just the U.S. economy, but global financial markets. I don't see how you can make the systemic risk argument for a car company."
It's taken them awhile, but good to see that MSNBC has now seamlessly integrated its own promotional advertising with that of the Obama campaign.
An MSNBC promo that just aired, touting the network's election coverage, concludes: "Watch MSNBC, and experience the power of change." And as you'll see from the screencap, who is at the center of MSNBC's coverage but Keith Olbermann. Oh, and prior to its parting shot, the promo's soundtrack is the voice of JFK, in his famous "ask not" line from the 1961 inaugural address.
The election results aren’t in yet, but there is one set of surveys with an unmistakeable conclusion. Everyone should be forced to admit that the publicists formerly known as the "news" media have worked themselves to the bone this year to elect Barack Obama.
Polls have found it. The Pew Center for the People and the Press documented a landslide: "By a margin of 70 percent to 9 percent, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on November 4."
The Center for Media and Public Affairs found it. Measuring for comments that are either measurably positive or negative – and dropping out the neutral remarks – comments about Obama on the three network evening newscasts have been two-thirds positive (65 percent) since the party conventions. Comments about John McCain have been about one-third positive (36 percent) in the same time frame.
Rarely do the media put their institutional political bias on public display, but this past weekend, America's news industry titans left no doubt that they're fully behind one of the nation's most radical cultural and political movements.
ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the corporate owners of USA Today, the Miami Herald, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Sacramento Bee, The Dallas Morning News and many other newspapers, all spent thousands of dollars sponsoring the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in Washington, D.C. Many journalists from these Big Media mainstays attended or spoke at the convention.
In the name of "diversity," all the organizations listed above ran recruiting booths, as did NPR. Thus, the nation's major news providers demonstrated that they have bought into the central proposition of homosexual activists: that people engaging in homosexuality or bisexuality, along with transsexuals, are a historically oppressed minority group deserving the same preferential treatment and legal protections that society provides to ethnic minorities and women.
Left-wing media activists often claim that media companies force their employees to tilt coverage rightward. Would such people voice concern when the opposite thing happens? Not likely.
That's why you probably won't see lefty bloggers and activists getting outraged over this Palm Beach Post story which claims that employees of the National Enquirer were instructed not to investigate Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries. Why? Because Clinton supporters own the paper's parent company:
If a journalist ever wanted to exhibit her spectacular ignorance and bias, the Los Angeles Times' Johanna Neuman performed with flying colors. In a recent blog post about the surprise congratulatory phone call from the Bush family to Rush Limbaugh's radio show, Neuman offered,
We imagine the reason the tape has not yet popped up on YouTube is that is was singularly lacking in the biting, mean-spirited, politically pointed invective for which Limbaugh is known and loved by millions.
"Mean-spirited"? "Invective"? Of course Neuman provides zero examples to support her claim. Has Neuman ever even listened to Limbaugh's program?
Amazingly (or maybe not), Neuman isn't just some dim liberal blogger. She's a newswriter for the paper's Washington bureau. Good ... grief.
Today on Neil Cavuto, Monica Showalter of Investor's Business Daily was on, speaking about their editorial on Nanny Pelosi called "Feckless to Reckless." It's about Nancy Pelosi's recent reckless call to drain the strategic oil reserves in an attempt to answer our problems and pains at the gas pumps, short term. Needless to say, IBD was not impressed; in fact, the article calls for her resignation. You can read about it and watch the video interview at MsUnderestimated's site here.
"Fox and Friends" called out left wing anchor Keith Olbermann on his own lies. The co-hosts on the June 4 edition of "Fox and Friends" discussed the TV Newser story that NBC veteran Tim Russert is reportedly taking orders from Olbermann. Steve Doocy noted Olbermann’s rising in the ranks at NBC and also a blogging for the hard left site, "Daily Kos."
After Gretchen Carlson responded to Olbermann’s intelligence insult, Doocy noted Olbermann’s claim he does not go after public figure’s children, but named Doocy’s own son "Worst Person in the World." Doocy fumed "So next time you see Keith Olbermann on TV, just remember he is somebody who picks on people’s children. And he is a liar."
Olbermann also named Doocy’s son "Worst Person in the World," after issuing an apology for David Shuster’s Chelsea Clinton "pimped out" comment.
Los Angeles Times staff writer James Rainey has an article today taking a look at the lack of love for John McCain on YouTube compared to the multiple hosannas found when searching for videos of the Obamessiah:
Search "John McCain" on YouTube and you'll find the latest broadside, by Brave New Films of Culver City, and a lot more that's not good for a candidate who's built his reputation on constancy and authenticity.
Six of the top 10 videos returned by a "John McCain" YouTube search Thursday pegged the 71-year-old as inconsistent, extreme, wooden or a combination of the three. (The one clearly favorable piece came from the McCain campaign and focused on his Navy service.)
Aside from President Bush, one of the left's favorite boogeymen is Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, owner of the Fox television networks and myriad newspapers around the globe. Murdoch, as the story goes, is deliberately foisting a far-right ideology upon the world, intent upon making it to support his personal political agenda.
In order for that to be true, however, paranoid lefties have to ignore a lot of evidence that Murdoch's words and deeds are hardly those of a consistently conservative person. The media exec demonstrated that once again today by heaping praise upon "rock star" Barack Obama while heavily criticizing his Republican rival John McCain as ignorant about economics, "unpredicable," and having "a lot of problems."
"I want to meet Obama. I want to know is he going to walk the walk. Have you read his education policy, what it is? It's just great. [...] I just hope that he's as good as he promises."
Was George Soros behind the publication of Scott McClellan's book? Meredith Vieira had the perfect opportunity this morning to find out—but chose to punt. The Today co-anchor certainly had the time: her much-touted exclusive interview with the author of What Happened ranged over the show's first two half-hours. But even when McClellan himself put the issue on the table—citing his publisher by name and alluding to its philosophy—Vieira failed to pursue a line of questioning that could have put matters in an explosive new light.
is part of the Perseus Books Group, which also owns Nation Books, “a project of The Nation Institute” which publishes the magazine of the same name, and Vanguard Press, whose home page now features The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, a new book by Vincent Bugliosi that “presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq.”
Baker also notes that PublicAffairs is the publisher of no fewer than six books by Soros himself, and that McClellan's editor, Peter Osnos, who acknowledges having "worked very closely" with the author, is a liberal pundit in his own right.
Finally, Little Green Footballs has documented that there are several Perseus companies that actually include "Soros" as part of their name, as in Perseus-Soros Management, LLC.
Put it all together, and there's every reason to wonder whether Soros isn't behind McClellan's manifesto. But given the golden opportunity to pursue the matter, Meredith chose to move on. Here's the relevant exchange, which came during the second half-hour of this morning's Today.
The future of conservatism is something which has become something of a hot topic. It's become evident to many that the historical moment that made the so-called Reagan coalition possible has passed, raising the inevitable question: where do we go from here? Has the right lost its way? Should conservatism be dependent upon the Republican party? What sorts of ideas should 21st century conservatism project?
These are just a few of the topics I asked Jonah Goldberg in Part II of our NewsBusters Interview with the author of "Liberal Fascism." See the partial transcript below or download an audio copy. Here's Part I in case you missed it.
Along with racist, the word fascist is one of the most common epithets you hear tossed around. Has the constant repetition of the word made it lose its meaning? Does anyone really know what it means? These are questions that Jonah Goldberg seeks to answer in his #1 best-selling book "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning."
If you haven't picked up a copy yet, this is one book you need to buy.
As part of our tradition of bringing you in-depth interviews with America's political leaders, I took the opportuntity to speak by phone with Goldberg about "Liberal Fascism." Our conversation is quite extensive but well worth the read. Given the length of the interview (which is available in audio format as well as transcript), I've broken it down into two portions: the first in which Goldberg discusses his many leftist critics including his confrontation with comedian Jon Stewart, and the second in which Goldberg discusses conservatism and where he believes it's headed. This is the first installment. Read the transcript below or download an audio copy.
While he told EW “he had to speculate” about dialogue, “Stone insist[ed] that every scene in 'W' will be rooted in truth.” Instead, the movie is a hodge podge of supposed eyewitness accounts, third-hand gossip and fantastical guesswork mixed with “awkward and goofy” caricatures. EW pointed out that “some accounts” “may have come from disgruntled former staffers.”
If the left frothed over ABC's “Path to 9/11” and the media criticized “its invented scenes, fabricated dialogue and unsubstantiated accounts,” then surely they'll immediately knock Stone for these scenes that could come directly from Will Farrell's old “Saturday Night Live” Bush skits (all bold mine):
There's a scene of 26-year-old Bush peeling his car to a stop on his parents' front lawn and drunkenly hurling insults at his father (''Thank you, Mr. Perfect. Mr. War Hero. Mr. F---ing-God-Almighty!''), while another scene set a few years later finds Bush nearly crashing a small plane while flying under the influence.
As you pretty much have to know by now due to the fact that they won't shut up about it, NBC Universal's "Green Is Universal" campaign is winding down. Begining next week, we'll no longer be hearing the media giant's numerous television properties spreading feel-good environmentalism to viewers and promoting allegedly earth-friendly policies (ethanol, anyone?). I, for one, couldn't be more happy, not just because we'll finally be spared the painful inanity that such reports often entail but also because of the numerous acts of unethical journalism we'll no longer have to witness.
We often hear lefties rage against Rupert Murdoch for allegedly harming the objectivity of his employees by forcing his "right-wing" politics on them. At the same time, however, our journalistic bluenoses routinely turn a blind eye to flagrant corporate-sponsored journalism such as "Green" or the equally disturbing case of an Australian company literally banning its employees from criticizing its own "Earth Hour" campaign.
We all know the reason why media-beat reporters are unconcerned by such actions of course. It's because they support liberal policy goals. Sadly, in the eyes of many left-leaning journalists, good journalism is liberal journalism. As troubling as the fact that NBC News has willingly prostrated itself before its corporate master is, it's probably less disturbing than the fact that the entire "Green" campaign seems to have been cooked up by NBC Universal's own parent company, General Electric, as a way to make money for itself.
Monday's NBC Nightly News kicked off “Earth Week” by trumpeting Sweden as an environmental and economic paradise that could point the way for the United States. Anchor Brian William contended Swedes “always seem to be so happy and beautiful” and now “there's another reason to be green with envy about the Swedes. We're told they are living green lives, showing kindness to the planet, and saving a ton of energy in the process.” Sweden certainly enchanted reporter Anne Thompson who rode a bicycle in Stockholm and gushed:
Sweden's official colors are blue and yellow, but it lives green -- from the citizens who can eat the fish from waterways in Stockholm to King Carl XVI Gustaf, who rules the land and drives an ethanol-powered car.
Thompson focused on how the nation is researching “gasified wood” and putting people onto bicycles. Plus, “alternatives like the fuel made from organic waste that powers this train.” Highlighting that “to reduce traffic, Swedes pay to drive in the business district,” Thompson concluded by touting how “Sweden's most important export” is “real world ways to live green.”
It continues. Days after NewsBusters reported that the BBC willingly censored its reporting to fit the agenda of a left-wing environmental activist comes news that reporters at an Australian paper have been forced company-wide to promote climate alarmism by their bosses.
In some positive news for journalistic independence though, it looks like the staffers at the Age newspaper have finally had enough. What's even more surprising is that the Age is a left-wing paper, similar to London's Guardian, that normally has no trouble pursuing agenda-driven coverage. The mandated bias is so ridiculous though, that it was too much for even them.
Our story begins late last month when the Age's parent company, Fairfax Media, teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund to help promote Earth Hour, a silly PR campaign to use less or no electricity as a way of "raising awareness" about "climate change."
Well, here is what might be a landmark case for the blogosphere, for the Internet, and for the future of our new media, citizen journalism. The AP has just sent a cease and desist letter to Brian C. Ledbetter telling him to stop using their copyrighted images on his website, snappedshot.com.
Snappedshot.com is a site predicated on criticism of photo-journalism. In pursuit of his criticism, Mr. Ledbetter uses photos from across the web that he thinks are doctored or misleading in some way. He then reports his opinion on the bias he sees therein.
Because of this pending legal action, snappedshot.com is now been placed on hiatus until the situation can be cleared up.