Earlier today in Indiana you said something striking. You said that this nation could end up in a crisis, without action, that we would be unable to reverse. Can you talk about what you know or what you’re hearing that would lead you to say that our recession might be permanent when others in our history have not? And do you think that you risk losing some credibility or even talking down the economy by using dire language like that?
(Obama actually said "may be unable to reverse," not "would be." But I digress.)
Obama's rambling answer, and the rest of the briefing, should have reminded Loven of what she surely considered a withering critique of Bush three years ago (HT to an e-mailer; bolds are mine). After all, she wrote it:
It’s not a cartoon of a turban-shaped bomb, and probably nobody will threaten violence over it, but members of a religion are outraged over a depiction, and the networks aren’t interested. Only Fox News covered the story about a blasphemous condom advertisement.
Catholics and Protestants alike are furious over a flier that appeared on the University of Georgia campus displaying the famous Michelangelo painting of God reaching out to touch Adam’s hand. The fliers included a condom between God and Adams’ fingers, accompanied by the text, “Condom Tip #5: Carefully open condom wrappers with your fingers- don’t use a sharp object.” The fliers were posted around campus as a promotion for the university’s Sexual Responsibility Week.
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?
Pope Rebukes Pelosi, Tells Her Catholic Legislators Obligated to Protect Life
The Vatican Press Office released a note this morning detailing part of the conversation which Pope Benedict XVI had with Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Vatican insiders inform LifeSiteNews.com that such releases are always phrased in diplomatic language and thus the correction of the Speaker who fancies herself a faithful Catholic despite her abortion advocacy can be taken as a rebuke.
The text of the note reads: "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."
Those interested in learning how the press will minimize the Pope's rebuke have an early example to peruse at Agence France-Presse (AFP). It contains the expected watering-down of the rebuke, and more (AFP link is dynamic; its report as it appeared when this post was drafted is here):
About half-way through President Obama's press conference Monday night, he had an unscripted question of his own. "All, Chuck Todd," the President said, referring to NBC's White House correspondent. "Where's Chuck?" He had the same strange question about Fox News's Major Garrett: "Where's Major?"
The problem wasn't the lighting in the East Room. The President was running down a list of reporters preselected to ask questions.
In other words, the preselection by the President's team of who would be allowed to submit a question to His Excellency was obvious to anyone paying reasonably close attention, and his unfocused answers rambled on and on and on.
Now the American Spectator's Prowler reports that the White House's communications crew is trying to do something about that. Not the preselection, no-no-no. They're trying to use high tech to hide that element of the briefings as much as possible, and further, to assist the supposed "greatest orator of his generation" in handling the questions he receives (bolds are mine):
The battle between New London, Connecticut and the residents of its Fort Trumbull neighborhood began in 1998 when the City decided that it would redevelop the area for ultimate ownership by others and, if necessary, take the residents' properties for that "public purpose" -- not for "public use" (i.e., roads, bridges, schools, etc.), as the Fifth Amendment clearly intended.
Susette Kelo and other Fort Trumbull residents pushed back and sued to try to stop the city's plans. Ultimately, the Supreme Court rendered its 5-4 decision in Kelo v. New London in June 2005, erroneously (as the Founders would almost certainly have seen it) siding with the city.
In July 2006, after intervention by Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell prevented the City from carrying out its declared intent to forcibly remove final holdouts Kelo and the Cristofaros if necessary, the city and the holdouts settled.
More than 2-1/2 years after the settlement, 3-1/2 years after the Supremes' decision, and 11 years after the city's initial plans, oh boy -- a new tenant has finally moved into the Fort Trumbull Neighborhood. It's a government tenant (link at New London Day will be available for about a week), and the move is into an existing building:
This "Name That Party" situation has many of the usual elements. There are several stories about two Democratic judges involved in criminal behavior in Pennsylvania, and, with one exception, they "somehow" don't get around to identifying their party.
But this saga is different for two reasons:
The crimes to which the judges have pleaded guilty involve "thousands" of juveniles.
In one lonely exception, the Associated Press's coverage prominently identified the judges' party. But in what was apparently a subsequent longer revision, their party identification disappeared.
What follows is a side-by-side picture of the first four paragraphs of a February 11 AP story carried at topix.com (also saved at my host for future reference), and of the five paragraphs of the story as it now appears at MSNBC (also saved at host; red and green boxes are mine; portions of the Topix link were moved from their original locations on the page for demonstration purposes; MSNBC graphic is of the printer-friendly version):
A month ago, I noted a comment by Chicago Sun-Times writer Carol Marin who was mildly complaining that President Obama never goes before the press without having a list of pre-approved journalists upon whom he'll call during a press conference. She offhandedly quipped that in the press corps, "most of us don't even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who've been advised they will be called upon that day."
I wondered last month how long it would take for anyone else in the press corps to notice Obama's tendency to hand pick from among the free press who he will deign to allow to ask a question? I also wondered if this same "free press" would have meekly allowed president Bush get away with treating the press in such a way? Or would they have raised a hue and cry that would have deafened the world? Drudge. at least, noticed then because within a day my post had wracked up over 200,000 views. But, until February 11, no one in the press has seemed too interested in discussing this issue.
The Washington Times and New York Daily News, among other news outlets, have reported that, as a member of Congress, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel received rent-free accommodations from Representative Rosa DeLauro for five years, raising the question of whether Emanuel properly complied with gift rules for House members and whether he should have paid taxes on the imputed income of the gift.
Last summer, liberals went after Republican Senator Norm Coleman for paying an allegedly below-market rate for his Capitol Hill apartment, with the George Soros-funded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) demanding an ethics committee investigation.
The big media bias question regarding Emanuel is whether his longtime friend, ABC chief Washington correspondent and host of This Week George Stephanopoulos, knew about the arrangement with DeLauro and her husband, pollster Stan Greenberg — who worked alongside Emanuel and Stephanopoulos in the 1992 Clinton campaign.
The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers, aka "The Sleuth," has (Tom) Delay Derangement Syndrome (DDS), and she's got it bad.
Akers's DDS outbreak occurred as she reported on the plan by the Obama Administration to have the director of the Census Bureau report to the White House instead of the Director of the Commerce Department.
(On Thursday evening, after my original post [at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog], CQpolitics.com separately updated its original coverage by reporting that "the White House but sought to define the relationship as one in which the director would 'work closely with' rather than report to President Obama’s senior staff." Uh huh.)
As if to justify the administration's plan, Akers incoherently compared the Obama White House's attempt to coopt the entire Census Bureau to what Texan Delay and other Republicans did a few years ago to maximize the number of GOP-majority districts in one state.
Here are the opening paragraphs of Akers's Friday evening bellyache (link is in original):
Her husband may finally be facing scrutiny, but the media still faint for Michelle.
“Pep rally.” “Rock show.” “Church service.” These were the words a Washington Post staff writer used to describe a brief appearance by the first lady at a government agency on Wednesday. It’s part of the ongoing drumbeat of press adulation for all things Obama.
On Feb. 5, Richard Leiby penned a glowing narrative of Michelle Obama’s political stop at the Department of Housing and Urban Development headquarters in Washington, D.C. to promote her husband’s economic plan. The Obamas may be all about “change,” but the entrenched bureaucracy sure seems to love them.
The crowd of government workers, which Leiby said had waited in line for hours, “raised their cameras aloft to capture her…the most famous woman in the world.” Leiby didn’t say whether he was troubled that the waiting, the “wild adulation” and the shouts of “We love you!” occurred during taxpayer-funded work hours.
“Dressed in a satiny purple blouse, gray jacket and skirt, Mrs. Obama only talked for about eight minutes but spent as much time wading into the crowd as the outro music blared: ‘Ain't No Stopping Us Now.’”
But in truth, there's hardly anything new about the controversy in question save for a celebrity chiming in to resurrect the issue of aerial wolf hunts in Alaska:
It's not the first time Defenders of Wildlife has targeted Palin. Last fall, when Palin was John McCain's running mate, it ran ads in several states denouncing Palin and the predator control program, and raised more than $1 million. Judd had campaigned for President Barack Obama during the campaign.
Far from Palin making a new enemy, this is a new twist on an ongoing complaint by animal rights activists about the state of Alaska's wildlife management policy, which allows for limited, licensed aerial hunting of wolves in remote areas difficult to access or traverse by ground.
Don't like the notion of Wall Street employees receiving bonuses? Shoot the messenger - as Adam Green at The Huffington Post has done.
In a Feb. 2 post on The Huffington Post, Green said it was bad form for CNBC "Street Signs" host Erin Burnett to even think about considering the other side of the anti-Wall Street bonus argument, since some Wall Street banks received TARP funds, courtesy of the taxpayer.
"There are, though - well, how should we say this - the taxpayer money is not being used to pay the bonuses," Burnett explained on NBC's Feb. 1 "Meet the Press." "I think people could understand if you work for a company - right? If the three of us worked for a company, your guests, and I lost $10 billion but Steve [Forbes] over there, he made a billion dollars. So overall the company actually loses money, but Steve went and did his very darndest for that company and he made money. So should he be paid for his work? That's essentially what we're talking about here."
ABC has apparently never heard that phrase, "There are two sides to every story." On Feb. 1, "World News Sunday" helped shamed former-pastor Ted Haggard take shots at the Christian conservatives who he says "shunned him."
Reporter Dan Harris introduced the piece by qualifying Haggard as a former "insider, a powerful pastor at the highest levels of the Christian conservative movement."
Haggard, who made headlines two years ago for getting caught in a gay sex scandal, is now offering advice to the Christian conservative movement; and ABC gave him the megaphone. Here is a portion of Harris' interview with Haggard:
As noted Friday evening (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Jake Tapper at ABC's Political Punch blog revealed that former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle, Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, had failed to pay over $100,000 in federal income taxes for 2005, 2006, and 2007, because he did not originally report the "the services of (a free) car and driver" provided to him by his employer, private equity firm InterMedia Advisers.
At 11:24 last night, Tapper posted a separate update (HT to NB commenter "slickwillie2001") indicating that Daschle's tax problems involve larger amounts, go well beyond the matter of a "mere" car and driver, and are not completely resolved (bolds are mine):
Remember the days when news agencies claimed they were the fourth estate? Remember when they claimed to be "objective" and pretended at being separate from the controlling power in Washington D.C.? Apparently that whole claim has proven somewhat chimeric if the several stories we've detailed this week are any indication. And now, to add to the gathering evidence that the Old Media are actively joining Team Obama and the political left, comes CNN to hawk a new line of Obama T-Shirts. So much for being objective. So much for staying above joining a political campaign.
Judi McLeod of the Canada Free Press was alerted by one of her readers to CNN's participation in Barack Obama's permanent political campaign with its new capitalist venture. CNN's headline shirts, where CNN fans can pick from various CNN headlines and have them emblazoned on a T-Shirt for their wearing pleasure, have been a round for a little while, of course. But never before has the TV Cable Newser dedicated an entire series of such shirts to celebrate a single politician... until The One descended upon Washington.
Michelle may bring home the bacon, but she sure doesn't fry it up in a pan.
During last year's presidential campaign, the media worked overtime to portray John and Cindy McCain as wealthy private jet junkies with more homes than they can remember, while showcasing Barack and Michelle Obama as just another middle class family with two working parents, one car and freshly paid off student loans. In 2008, a media frenzy whirled around Mrs. McCain's income and the $170,000 she paid household staff in 2006.
On the other hand, Mrs. Obama was defined as an average mom who juggled work and home with extraordinary skill. According to the media, she arranged sleepovers, scoured Target for the perfect wardrobe and served healthy organic dinners. Just like us common folk, right? Well, almost. Those healthy organic dinners were cooked by the Obamas' personal chef, Sam Kass.
Funny how the media didn't mention that on the campaign trail, particularly in all of those syrupy, hagiographic interviews where Michelle discussed her family life, such as this October 17, 2008 CBS "Early Show" segment where she danced around answering reporter Maggie Rodriguez when she asked, “Who cooks at home?” (emphasis mine):
The mainstream media hasn't bothered to hide its infatuation with President Obama. They get physical thrills at the sound of his voice. His inauguration caused them to reach for religious imagery. Now that he's in the White House, they want us to know us what a breath of cultural fresh air he is - more informal, healthier and family-centered. Unwittingly, though, they're also showing a man who listens to hateful rap music, scarfs fatty foods and doesn't practice what he preaches on environmental responsibility.
Take for example the fluffy pieces that closed ABC and NBC's Jan. 29 evening news programs. On "Nightly News," Brian Williams gave nearly three minutes to the new White House dress code. "It was an article in this morning's New York Times that told the wider world what folks in Washington were already buzzing about," Williams said, "the change in style surrounding the Obama White House."
Obama has relaxed the "jacket required" policy of President Bush's Oval Office, and has been photographed at his desk in shirtsleeves. The reason? He keeps the Oval Office very warm.
Over on ABC, reporter Jake Tapper also noted the temperature change as part of his larger report on the president's typical day. "America's first Hawaiian-born president keeps the Oval Office warm causing economic advisor Larry Summers to break out in occasional sweat."
In one of the more insulting comparisons seen in recent memory, Albany Times Union editorial cartoonist John de Rosier does a major disservice to the honorable men who served during the Battle of Iwo Jima, by depicting recent efforts of Democrats to pass a non-stimulating ‘economic stimulus plan' as equally heroic.
The cartoon shows Democrats in the role of the Marines featured in the Iwo Jima Memorial, a sculpture based on the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal entitled Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. The exception to this replicationlies in the flag being raised - the Dem's are trying to hoist a ‘bailout flag' as opposed to a flag of the United States.
If that weren't insulting enough, the cartoon also shows the Republican Party mascot, the elephant, trying desperately to pull the flag down.
In short, the Democrats are trying to save our nation by heroically raising up the Obama bailout flag, while the villainous Republicans are trying to destroy our nation by stopping their efforts.
Once in a while there is a short piece spewed forth by some Old Media outlet or another that is so perfect as a primer of left-wing bias 101 that I just have to share it. In this case we have the Telegraph writing on the story, covered here a few days ago, where Barack Obama found himself confused by an outside glass panel he mistook for a door at the White House. Michael M. Bates compared the bemused and easy treatment that the confused Obama received to the vicious attacks that Bush suffered when he was similarly confused by a door that wouldn't open in China in 2005.
Bates wondered aloud if Obama would see the same sort of hateful attacks on his intelligence that Bush was served up by the ignorati in the media in 2005. We have since seen the answer to Bates' question. Obama has been given a pass. The Telegraph's treatment of the story, though, is such a perfect example of the subtle, left-wing bias used to excuse anything a lefty does while still attacking every one else that it really must serve as exhibit "A" in the battle against Old Media bias.
The Super Bowl is - or should be - typically a family-friendly event: an annual occasion in which dad, mom, and the kids gather around their television set to see the top two NFL teams battle it out, enjoy an entertaining half-time show, and laugh at the ridiculous commercials. But as of late, the Super Bowl entertainment has been controversial, and this year is no exception.
Two naked women in a shower or a woman exposing her "enhanced" chest in front of the Congress? You choose!
That's right. This year, godaddy.com has asked people to vote on their website for which revealing ad of Indy racer Danica Patrick they would like aired on Super Bowl Sunday.
After the 2004 Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" controversy affectionately now known as "Nipplegate," many wonder why NBC would air such a commercial. But NBC apparently has some standards, as it has recently rejected the animal rights group PETA's sexy vegetable ad. An NBC spokesperson told the Washington Post that "the ad was rejected because it did not conform with our standards."
Politico reports that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel holds daily chit chat sessions with several Old Media pals every morning to start his day. Apparently Emanuel has for years been involved with daily bull sessions to plan media coverage and ideological strategy with CNN's James Carville and Paul Begala, as well as ABC's George Stephanopoulos, with the occasional participation of pollster Stan Greenberg. But there is one little problem with this daily palling around with mediots these days: Emanuel now works for the White House. [Image credit: politico.com]
As Politico's John Harris notes, "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." In light of this early morning scheming, one has to wonder where the supposed autonomy of the media is if they are being programed by the Obama White House in off the record, secret and daily conversations? Where is their objectivity if these media mavens are all assisting Emanuel mold and shape the news to further a specific ideological goal?
Catching up on an item from Friday night, the three broadcast evening newscasts aired virtually nothing on January 23 about President Obama’s executive order permitting federal funding of abortions, overturning orders signed by President Bush in his first week in office back in 2001. Both CBS and NBC’s White House reporters squeezed in a single sentence about Obama’s action during stories about the economic stimulus bill, while ABC’s World News said nothing about the orders on Friday.
But on Sunday’s World News, ABC’s Dan Harris highlighted conservative criticism of Obama’s abortion decision, arguing that it showed how “despite his desire to reach out to people who disagree with him, the new President may find that on some issues, it may be impossible to find common ground.” Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi also painted the President -- whom she said hoped “not to provoke” conservatives by banning photographs of the signing -- the victim of a “brutal” reaction from conservatives:
For 8 years, life was good and easy for the liberal political cartoon community--they had George W. Bush & Dick Cheney to kick around. With hardly a care in the world, they boldly spoke truth to power, at immense personal risk to themselves, and quietly stacked their Pulitzers for being so bold and courageous and funny.
Then along came Barack Obama--the cool, handsome, African-American incarnation of JFK & Abraham Lincoln (no less). What were the professional sketch satirists to do?
"I had all my villains in place for eight years and they've been taken away," lamented Pulitzer Prize winner Pat Oliphant, one of the most widely syndicated cartoonists. "I don't know that I've ever had this experience before, of a president I maybe like. This is an antagonistic art. We're supposed to concentrate on finding things wrong. There's no point in drawing a cartoon that's favorable."
President Barack Obama is taking far-reaching steps to centralize decision-making inside the White House, surrounding himself with influential counselors, overseas envoys and policy "czars" that shift power from traditional Cabinet posts.
Not even a week has passed since he was sworn in, but already Obama is moving to create perhaps the most powerful staff in modern history – a sort of West Wing on steroids that places no less than a half-dozen of his top initiatives into the hands of advisers outside the Cabinet.
The Frigid Fingers Were Live, but the Music Wasn’t
It was not precisely lip-synching, but pretty close.
The somber, elegiac tones before President Obama’s oath of office at the inauguration on Tuesday came from the instruments of Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and two colleagues. But what the millions on the Mall and watching on television heard was in fact a recording, made two days earlier by the quartet and matched tone for tone by the musicians playing along.
Reportedly few Republicans see reason to ultimately vote against confirming Obama's attorney general designee and the GOP Senate minority has only put a one-week delay on his confirmation hearings, but the Washington Post was insistent in its January 22 headline that that Republican senators were set on "Obstruct[ing] Eric Holder's "Path to [the] Justice Dept."
This is markedly different from the Post's take in 2001 when Democratic senators objected to whom the Post called the "highly contentious" John Ashcroft. The January 16, 2001 edition of the Post described the Ashcroft hearings as the "first test of Bush's strength on [Capitol] Hill." (excerpt via Nexis, emphasis mine):
Supporters and opponents of John D. Ashcroft mobilized constituencies and honed strategies yesterday in last-minute preparations for the opening today of confirmation hearings over his highly contentious nomination as attorney general.
I was going through the comments tonight at my Pajamas Media column about the Geithner nomination that went up earlier today, and came across this at Comment 39 from "Mike M":
The deduction he took for the summer camp as a day care expense is EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED IN THE IRS CODE! That’s out and out tax fraud. Even Leona Helmsly (sic) is jealous in her grave ....
It turns out that there is a lot more to the Geithner story. It has been sitting right there in details that were made public last week, but were mostly ignored by the Washington press. While the amounts involved aren't anywhere near as large as those relating to Geithner's self-employment taxes from 2001 through 2004 on his earnings at the International Monetary Fund -- taxes he didn't pay until audited by the IRS (2003 and 2004) or until just before his nomination was announced (2001 and 2002) -- they are nonetheless revealing, infuriating, and disturbing. They make the claims of "honest mistakes" that his defenders up to and including Barack Obama continue to employ look much, much weaker (paragraph image is from Pages 3 and 4 of the relevant report stored here as a PDF; a larger JPEG image is here):