By Tom Blumer | August 31, 2015 | 11:37 PM EDT

Silly me. I really thought that every state's lottery operation was walled off from the rest of its finances. They collect bets, pay out winnings and administrative costs, and turn over the profits to general fund. End of discussion. No muss, no fuss. Right?

In Illinois, based on recent developments, we know that's obviously not the case — leading me to wonder how many other states potentially have the same problem the Land of Lincoln currently has. You see, the state is about to move into the third month of a budget standoff between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and its Democrat-controlled state legislature. As a result, because the lottery's operations are at least in a legal sense commingled with the rest of the state's finances, its comptroller has been forced to cancel payouts of lottery winnings greater than $25,000. It appears that very few media outlets outside of Illinois are interested in covering this obviously important story. Why?

By Tom Blumer | August 31, 2015 | 6:00 PM EDT

This is obviously sarcasm: Right behind all the positive racial healing we've seen during Barack Obama's presidency is the vast improvement in the degree of civility heard and seen in leftist discourse.

Obviously, that's not so. Hillary Clinton calls GOP presidential candidates "terrorists" and invokes Nazi-era images of illegal immigrants being "loaded into boxcars." The press — which would treat either utterance as front-page news if said by a Republican or conservative — gives her a pass, and some of its members are virtually cheering her on. Barack Obama calls his opponents "crazies," arguably even including some Democrats on matters on the Iran "deal," aka the "orchestrated surrender to Iran's nuclear ambitions." Former Bill Clinton administration and current Hillary Clinton insider Paul Begala joined the parade today as he attacked Dick Cheney:

By Tom Blumer | August 31, 2015 | 3:00 PM EDT

On Saturday, "more than 20,000" people — perhaps as many as 25,000 to 30,000, according to some police — marched through the streets of Birmingham, Alabama at a Glenn Beck-led "Restoring Unity" rally chanting "All Lives Matter." The event has been described as possibly "the largest march in Birmingham since the civil rights marches of 1963."

Searches at Google News and at the Associated Press's main national and "Big Story" sites indicate that no establishment press outlet gave the rally national coverage. The AP only managed to push out terse three-paragraph and seven-paragraph local stories. Meanwhile, a Reuters story on the less than peaceful march by the "Black Lives Matter" crowd attended by an estimated 325 (compared to an expected 900) in Minneapolis was carried at Yahoo News and the New York Times (at least).

By Tom Blumer | August 31, 2015 | 12:32 PM EDT

In the course of evaluating a claim made by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a prolife group, PolitiFact Georgia's crack investigators learned from a spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America that the organization "does not provide mammograms at any of its health centers." Since such facilities must be licensed by the Food and Drug Administration, no PPFA facility can legally perform a mammogram.

The claim ADF made in a tweet is that "ZERO @PPFA facilities are licensed to do mammograms." On August 21, despite PPFA's de facto acknowledgment that ADF is correct, PolitiFact Georgia determined that ADF's claim is only "Half True."

By Tom Blumer | August 30, 2015 | 11:47 PM EDT

Miami Herald sportwriter and columnist Greg Cote, whose career has entered or is about to enter its third decade, seems to have incorporated a sideline into his work: glib, ignorant political commentary.

One such example surfaced at the end of his August 25 Random Evidence blog post. Apparently, Cote believes that anyone who has ever received any kind of government benefit or has made use of a government service at any time in their life is a flaming hypocrite if they believe that Uncle Sam and other public entities should be able to survive on less money than they currently spend. They're also hypocrites if they believe that the federal government has become far too intrusive in our everyday affairs and threatening to the fundamental freedoms identified in the naton's Constitution. Greg, who clearly should stick to sportwriting, has convinced himself that such people are "anti-government":

By Tom Blumer | August 30, 2015 | 9:49 PM EDT

One of the odder pieces appearing during the past week in connection with the Hillary Clinton email and private server scandal was David Ignatius's attempt to deny that it's a scandal at all in Thursday's Washington Post.

Ignatius devoted four of his first five paragraphs to relaying the allegedly expert assessments of Jeffrey Smith, who Ignatius described as "a former CIA general counsel who’s now a partner at Arnold & Porter, where he often represents defendants suspected of misusing classified information." Sounds like an arms-length guy, doesn't he? He's not. He has been a security adviser to Hillary Clinton's previous presidential campaign, defended John Kerry against criticism of the Massachusetts senator's national security negligence in 2004, and served on Bill Clinton's presidential transition team in late 1992 and early 1993.

By Tom Blumer | August 30, 2015 | 10:42 AM EDT

The leftist press has despised Clarence Thomas ever since he fought off their attempt at what he properly characterized as a "high-tech lynching" to become a Supreme Court justice almost 24 years ago. It has worked to smear and discredit him ever since.

The latest such effort was posted online at the New York Times on Thursday and published in its Friday print edition. The online and print edition headlines at the piece by Adam Liptak, the paper's Supreme Court correspondent, made it appear as if the Times had discovered serious instances of plagiarism.

By Tom Blumer | August 29, 2015 | 10:21 AM EDT

Three weeks ago, concerning Associated Press coverage of investigations into Planned Parenthood's baby body parts business, I noted that "Bad news for Planned Parenthood gets only local coverage," while "Exculpatory news, even if artificially concocted, gets national exposure."

Add the following to that observation: Obama administration attempts to punish states for attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, clearly nationally significant, only get local coverage. Kansas provides such an example.

By Tom Blumer | August 28, 2015 | 10:22 PM EDT

At the Associated Press today, Christopher Rugaber appears to have played along with a game of make-believe in his coverage of the August release of the University of Michigan's Survey of Consumers.

The index dropped for the second straight month, this time from 93.1 to 91.9, a point below August's prelimnary reading of 92.9. That trailed expectations that it would come in at 93.0. The survey's director, Richard Curtin, claimed that the drop occurred "mainly due to the recent volatility in stock prices." Whatever his reason for making that claim, it doesn't pass the smell test, and Rugaber had all the information needed to figure that out (which he may have) and report it (which he didn't).

By Tom Blumer | August 27, 2015 | 11:46 PM EDT

Two weeks ago, cable and broadcast giant Comcast announced that its NBCUniversal unit would invest $200 million in Vox Communications, thereby "creating a partnership to help the television giant better connect with younger audiences."

Based on what follows and far more examples than one could hope to cite in a single post, Comcast should consider asking for their money back. Apparently trying to capitalize on the anti-Second Amendment hysteria the Obama administration and the left have attempted to foster after Vester Lee Flanagan II shot and killed Alison Parker and Adam Ward in Virginia, Vox posted the following breathtakingly ignorant tweet (since taken down; HT Twitchy):

By Tom Blumer | August 26, 2015 | 11:07 PM EDT

I'm sure we all feel better now that Hillary Clinton, as reported by the New York Times late Wednesday afternoon, "took responsibility" for "her decision to use only private email while she was secretary of state."

Well, no — and Times reporter Maggie Haberman should (and probably does) know why that doesn't cut it. Mrs. Clinton still maintained on Wednesday that investigations currently in process "will prove that I never sent, nor received, any email that was marked classified." Information already known shows that contention to be false, and the noise about "markings" is irrelevant in any event.

By Tom Blumer | August 26, 2015 | 5:39 PM EDT

Almost four years ago, solar energy manufacturer Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, leaving the federal government with a loan guarantee-related loss of up to $535 million.

The Energy Department's inspector general released a report on the debacle today. At the Associated Press, reporter Kevin Freking made sure readers knew that the loan guarantee program began under President George W. Bush, but somehow "forgot" to note, as the Weekly Standard did at the time, that the Energy Department under Bush made a "unanimous decision to shelve Solyndra's application two weeks before Obama took office."