The Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (known as "HAMP" to lenders and services, and MHA, or "Making Home Affordable" to the general public) is "failing."
I only learned this because I looked at the Associated Press's feeds on Christmas evening and saw this headline -- "No consequences for lying borrowers."
In an item time-stamped December 25, AP national business columnist Rachel Beck (note: not a reporter) used language that would ordinarily cause many in the press to characterize such a person as a hard-hearted meanie to describe the results of this core Obama initiative this far:
No consequences for lying borrowers
The government shouldn't reward liars. But that's the effect of changes to the Obama administration's failing program to help homeowners modify their mortgages.
This is the fifth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics:
The use of “Christmas shopping season” vs. “holiday shopping season” (note how the AP photo at right uses “holiday” and not “shopping,” even though there is a C-C-, Chr-Chr-Christmas tree in the picture).
The frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.
I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year — the first in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later. The results of this year's first two sets of searches are here (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog) and here (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog).
A table showing the results from this year, plus key comparisons to prior years, follows:
Has anyone else noticed how chilling it has been during the past few days? Not chilly (though it's been that too). Chilling.
On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared, in the Associated Press's words, that "greenhouse gas emissions are a danger and must be regulated."
The AP, in the item just linked, and many other news outlets carried U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donahue's warning that regulations based on EPA's declaration could lead to "a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project."
Two days later, in an item carried at FoxNews.com that says it was the result of contributions by Fox's Major Garrett and the AP, a White House official confirmed the legitimacy of Donahue's stated fear (bolds are mine):
Administration Warns of 'Command-and-Control' Regulation Over Emissions
This is the fifth year I have looked into how the establishment media treats these two topics:
The use of "Christmas shopping season" vs. "holiday shopping season" (the AP photo at right uses "holiday" and not "shopping," even though there is a C-C-, Chr-Chr-Christmas tree in the picture).
The frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.
I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year -- the first in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later. The cumulative results of all three search sets during the past four years are in this graphic.
On November 24 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that references to this year's shopping season came up with just over 6% of references to the "Christmas shopping season," while the rest referred to the "holiday shopping season." That's a 9-point, roughly 60% drop from just four years ago.
Here are the results of the relevant Google News searches done late last night compared to roughly the same date in 2005 --
Rupert Murdoch sees a future in journalism. With newspaper circulation at post-war lows and major dailies shutting down in a number of cities, he may be one of the few optimists left. But first, Murdoch claims, the American government must change its obsolete and destructive regulatory policies that, he says, are preventing major news outlets from competing.
"Good journalism is an expensive commodity," Murdoch told an audience at a Federal Trade Commission workshop on the future of journalism today. "Critics say people won’t pay, but I say they will. But only if you give them something good." Murdoch has announced plans to institute paywalls for all online content offered by his giant news conglomerate, News Corp.
Though Murdoch is confident that paywalls would more than make up for revenue lost by shortfalls in advertising dollars, other newspapers' experiences with the system have failed to do so. The New York Times in 2005 began charging for many of its columns, but eliminated the paywall after revenues failed to outweigh advertising dollars. Still, there are a number of unexplored options for online news payment schemes, and Murdoch is no rookie in the news business.
This is the fifth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics:
The use of "Christmas shopping season" vs. "holiday shopping season" (note how the AP photo at right uses "holiday" and not "shopping," even though there is a C-C-, Chr-Chr-Christmas tree in the picture).
The frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.
I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later.
The cumulative results of all three search sets during the past four years are in this graphic.
Year-to-year changes have often been subtle. That is anything but the case with the results of the first set of searches I did at roughly 10 a.m. ET. In the context of the current economy, they are stunning, and very revealing:
It's a development that I wouldn't wish on anybody, but one that the City of New London, Connecticut largely brought upon itself by pursuing and winning the Kelo v. New London case at the Supreme Court in June 2005.
Some "win." In what Ed Morrissey at Hot Air calls "a fitting coda to a chapter of governmental abuse," pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer is leaving the global research and development headquarters it built in New London just eight years ago.
The significance of the move should resonate nationally, because, as the Washington Examiner explains, Pfizer's original decision to locate in New London was driven by the City's promises to eliminate a nearby neighborhood -- promises which led to the Kelo litigation once residents, including Susette Kelo (pictured above), pushed back:
To lure those jobs to New London a decade ago, the local government promised to demolish the older residential neighborhood adjacent to the land Pfizer was buying for next-to-nothing. Suzette Kelo fought the taking to the Supreme Court, and lost. Five justices found this redevelopment met the constitutional hurdle of "public use."
The New London Day elaborates, while petulantly managing to avoid any mention of what has clearly become the local four-letter word -- "Kelo" (bold is mine):
Want more evidence print media is giving way to digital formats? According to CNBC "Squawk on the Street" Nov. 3, Internet behemoth Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) could have its sights set on The New York Times (NYSE:NYT).
Brian Shactman, a general assignment reporter for CNBC noted an article in the Nov. 2 Wall Street Journal that indicated a lot of big companies are hoarding cash and short term investments and it pointed out the information technology sector had nearly $280 billion to invest.
"There's so much talk today about M and A," Shactman said of mergers and acquisitions. "Well let's look it forward - some names out there that could be in the offing, some things to think about. Remember The Wall Street Journal said yesterday tech has about $280 billion to work with. Remember Google said they wanted to make about one acquisition a month. They have the cash - they got to speed up."
Americans who fail to pay the penalty for not buying insurance would face legal action from the Internal Revenue Service, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
The remarks Thursday from the committee's chief of staff, Thomas Barthold, seems to further weaken President Barack Obama's contention last week that the individual mandate penalty, which could go as high as $1,900, is not a tax increase.
Under questioning from Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Barthold said the IRS would "take you to court and undertake normal collection proceedings."
Ensign pursued the line of questioning because he said a lot of Americans don't believe the Constitution allows the government to mandate the purchase of insurance.
Friday, Brown reported that Ensign got a clarification on what the result of "normal collection proceedings" might be, and got it in writing (HT Hot Air):
A week ago, there was news indicating that September auto sales will be down drastically, and that most of the blame for the nosedive belongs to Cash for Clunkers. If you haven't seen any establishment media coverage of this, it's because there has been very little. A Google News Search on ["september sales" "cash for clunkers"] (typed exactly as indicated) for September 17-25 returned all of 68 items (Google's indication that there are over 400 is wrong), and a significant number of them are stories in the various cities served by bizjournals.com.
Here is part of Chrissie Thompson's Automotive News report from September 18 describing how dire things have gotten at dealer showrooms around the U.S.:
Last Wednesday, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, in the wake of James O'Keefe's and Hannah Giles's embarrassing video barrage, went into damage control mode:
As a result of the indefensible action of a handful of our employees, I am, in consultation with ACORN’s Executive Committee, immediately ordering a halt to any new intakes into ACORN’s service programs until completion of an independent review. I have also communicated with ACORN’s independent Advisory Council, and they will assist ACORN in naming an independent auditor and investigator to conduct a thorough review of all of the organization's relevant systems and processes.
The Politico entry from Ben Smith linked above reports that the (cough, cough) "Independent Advisory Council" consists of the following eight members:
Some of us have been wondering how viable the Voluntary Employee Benefit Arrangements (VEBAs) set up by the United Auto Workers for its auto industry employees really are. This is of particular concern at the VEBAs tied in to General Motors and Chrysler. What happens to the employer stock these VEBAs own will heavily influence whether they have the money to pay promised benefits.
The answer to the viability question must be "not very," because the House version of health care that has made it out of committee has a $10 billion provision tucked into it that would largely work to back the VEBAs up in case GM and Chrysler are never able to stand on their own -- or in case other high-wage, high-benefit companies, many of which are unionized, follow them into serious financial difficulty.
Maybe it's because $10 billion doesn't mean much any more in an era of trillion-dollar deficits, but media coverage of this "little" provision has been very, very light. A Google News search on "retiree health care UAW" (not typed in quotes) came back with only about 25 relevant items of roughly 100 total results earlier this afternoon. Many of those results are outraged editorials and op-eds. There is precious little original news coverage of the topic.
One of the few examples of original coverage is an August 24 report by Justin Hyde and Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press that explains the provision and provides background:
Apparently, YouTube doesn't think that a conservative journalist has anything to say to help all you budding citizen journalists out there. A glance at the denizens of the Old Media offered up as journalism experts on the Internet video giant will show a long list of well known lefties with not a single center or center right professional in the mix.
On April 30, YouTube set up a channel dedicated to a sort of how-to instruction manual or an online media 101 class that folks interested in becoming citizen journalists can watch to help them learn some of the tricks of the Media trade. Ostensibly, this will help the average, every day blogger present his work in a more professional way. This is a great idea, by the way. Many blogs could use some tips on better writing and presentation, interview skills, and video presentation if not an occasional editor -- and I should know on that last one!
Clearly, the most important takeaway from ABC's low-rated White House forum on health care was President Barack Obama's admission that he would go outside the constraints of a nationalized system to get the "very best care" if necessary for his own family.
Pornography is no longer a poison creeping into the crevices of our popular culture. It is part of the very fabric. One sensation at a recent Apple conference for new and developing applications in San Francisco was the "i-Porn bikini girls" advertising free X-rated films for your i-Phone. It sounds like a whole new reason to fear people using their mobile phone while they drive.
Free porn sites are all over the Internet now, with zero restrictions or minimal electronic barriers against curious children who might be in for a very crude shock within seconds, just with the still photos on the home page. Even the most mainstream of video sites are inundated with pornography and its promoters. YouTube touts itself as the world’s most popular portal for Internet videos. It has become so big it’s even promoting a new technology called YouTube XL to put its videos directly on your big-screen TV.
On June 6, 1944, the crucial Normandy Landings that formed the spearhead of the Allied invasion of Nazi held Europe occurred. D-Day ultimately led to the victory of the Allies over the despotic Nazi regime. Now here we are on June 6, 2009 and, in its inimitable way, Google has decided to memorialize the important occasion by adding an image on its homepage depicting... the computer game Tetris.
Yes, it's far more important to Google to celebrate the anniversary of the invention of the video game Tetris than to memorialize D-Day. It just warms the heart, doesn't it?
As NewsBusters has regularly reported, internet behemoth Google, despite recognizing such important American events as Giovanni Schiaparelli and Charles Darwin's birthdays with special logos, has never done anything to commemorate Memorial Day.
Well, whether they succumbed to the pressure, or are feeling more patriotic with Barack Obama in the White House, Google has finally done something to recognize America's fallen soldiers along with the rest of the country.
Yet, unlike the elaborate logos for other events deemed important, Google on Monday displayed a little yellow ribbon under the search field (actual size right, h/t NBer R D Helm).
Yep -- that tiny ribbon.
Compare that to the fuss they made over Dr. Seuss's birthday in March:
There is plenty of evidence that many environmental activists are, at bottom, dangerous extremists who have deluded themselves into believing that the earth's population must be radically reduced if humanity is to survive. There is also growing evidence that this far-out viewpoint is more widely accepted among so-called mainstream environmentalists than the establishment media would have us believe.
Occasionally, these views surface. Ted Turner, father of five, infamously asserted the need to reduce the earth's population to 2 billion about a decade ago. He also expressed a stronger personal preference: "Personally, I think the population should be closer to when we had indigenous populations, back before the advent of farming. Fifteen thousand years ago, there was somewhere between 40 and 100 million people." In the early 1990s, the late Jacques Cousteau suggested that "World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day." More recently, though less famously, at a Psychology Today blog, writer Stephen Kotter asserted "we need to lose 4.4 billion people and we need to lose them fast."
But I don't recall seeing an adviser to a government as prominent as the UK's Jonathon Porritt publicly utter such sentiments. But utter them he has. The UK Times Online took note on March 22:
Gallup has issued two polls in the past couple of weeks showing that the reality is breaking through the non-stop, years-long propaganda blitz known properly known as the Great Global Warming Hoax (characterized by me since January 2007 as globaloney):
On March 11, the pollster told us that "Although a majority of Americans believe the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated, a record-high 41% now say it is exaggerated." That's up from 30% three years ago.
On March 19, we were informed that "For the first time in Gallup's 25-year history of asking Americans about the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say economic growth should be given the priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent." And it's a 51-42 rout, a 27-point swing from 55-37 the other way just two years ago. Since globaloney is the main environmental justification for slowing (really stopping) economy growth, this result is a good proxy for increased rejection of the enviro kool-aid.
Now there's a third. Yesterday, Gallup told us that not only is globaloney increasing not believed and not more important than economic growth, it's the least important environmental issue we face. You have to look past its "clever" title and subhead to get to what should be the lede, but the glum news for Saturday's Earth Hour participants is there (bolds after title are mine):
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):
In the past several hours, I have received multiple e-mail messages from readers claiming that internet behemoth Google, for a brief period of time Saturday morning, flagged a number of conservative websites including NewsBusters, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fox News as possibly harmful to computers.
UPDATE: This is NOT a problem exclusive to conservative websites.
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:
Those who thought that President-elect Obama's pre-Thanksgiving promise to "create or save jobs," appropriately satirized by Mark Finkelstein at NewsBusters on November 24, might have been another one of the Oh-So-(in)Articulate One's "inartful" statements should know that it has become standard fare in Obama speeches.
In related news, Uncle Sam told us Friday that over 136 million seasonally adjusted jobs were "saved"in November (go here to replicate):
Never mind the 533,000 seasonally adjusted jobs lost -- which illustrates just how risible Obama's promise shift from the presidential campaign really is. Old Media's failure to note this shift is journalistic malpractice that would never occur during a Republican presidency.
This is not a promo for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) per se, as there may be other similarly effective organizations out there to help families who homeschool their kids.
But if the following examples don't prove that homeschooled children and their parents need to have access to legal help at a moment's notice, I don't know what will. I will present blood-boiling excerpts here, but strongly advise all to read the full stories at the links.
As the Christmas shopping season went into full swing in 2005, I sensed that journalists in general have a strong preference for using the term "holiday shopping" instead of "Christmas shopping" when covering business and commerce, but that when it came to people losing their jobs, they preferred to describe layoffs as relating to "Christmas."
My instincts have been proven correct, as you can see below from the results of three different sets of Google News searches in November and December in each of the last three years (links to last year's related posts are here, here, and here; 2006's are here, here, and here; 2005's are here, here, and here):
Earlier today, Christopher Booker at the UK Telegraph noted a "surreal scientific blunder," followed by an attempted cover-up, that should cause everyone to question the source's past and future credibility.
The source of the shoddy work is NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the outfit run by world champion globalarmist James Hansen. Hansen has in the past stated that "heads of major fossil-fuel companies who spread disinformation about global warming should be 'tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.'"
What Booker reports causes one to wonder what the appropriate punishment should be for committing drop-dead obvious errors and integrity-lacking follow-up.
Part of the punishment is surely the Telegraph's delicious headline, followed by Booker's criticism (bolds are mine):