On Tuesday, the Brookings Institution, with a David Leonhardt column at the New York Times serving as its de facto press release, published a study (full PDF here) entitled, "Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?" Unsurprisingly, their finding, in one word, was "No." Their more qualifed finding: "[I]n reality, the impact of student loans may not be as dire as many commentators fear." Their underlying "logic": "typical borrowers are no worse off now than they were a generation ago."
It's bad enough that much of the data presented by Beth Akers and Matthew M. Chingos, the study's authors, directly contradicts the sunshine they're trying blow up our keisters. What's even worse is that you don't even need to dig into the detail once you learn which year's data they used — 2010. For heaven's sake, guys, total student loan debt has grown by between 50 percent and 60 percent since then.
Sounding a familiar theme at the Associated Press ahead of awful economic news, Christopher Rugaber and Martin Crutsinger prepared a column in advance of tomorrow's final report on the economy's first-quarter economic contraction reminding us, with far more certainy than is justified, that "A GRIM US ECONOMIC PICTURE IS BRIGHTENING."
Guys, before you "brighten," you first have to step out of the darkness. According to the wire service's dynamic duo of reporting on the economy (I guess I could add Josh Boak and call them "the three amigos"), tomorrow's report on the nation's first-quarter Gross Domestic Product is expected to show that it contracted by "nearly 2 percent" on an annual basis. AP reports a week ago didn't include "nearly." Bloomberg News is currently predicting a contraction of 1.8 percent. I'd like to be wrong, but I'm concerned that it might be significantly worse. But Rugaber and Crutsinger say, "Don't worry, be happy; the rest of the year will probably be fine" (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In a Thursday New York Times op-ed, columnist Timothy Egan, who previously "worked for 18 years as a writer" at the Times, went after Wal-Mart as "net drain on taxpayers, forcing employees into public assistance with its poverty-wage structure." In his view, working at Wal-Mart and receiving its "humiliating wages ... certainly keeps you poor."
At the company's blog, David Tovar, Walmart's vice president for corporate communications, armed with a photocopy of Egan's op-ed and a red pen, ripped Egan's contentions to shreds (portion presented was reformatted to fit the available space; HT Instapundit):
As I noted yesterday, the Associated Press's Alicia Caldwell managed to ignore President Barack Obama's unilaterally imposed and recently extended "Deferred Action for Child Arrivals" (DACA) policy as the most obvious explanation for the sudden wave of "Unaccompanied Alien Children" (Homeland Security's term) illegally crossing the nation's southern border.
As weak as her report was, it had one very useful finding, namely that these young arrivals "can live in American cities, attend public schools and possibly work here for years without consequences." A "former director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office responsible for finding and removing immigrants living in the country," bluntly asserted that "They almost never go home." That factual situation directly contradicts a statement made by new White House press secretary Josh Earnest in his maiden press briefing on Friday — a statement which Caldwell, conveniently for the administration, did not report.
Though the Associated Press is covering "the waves of immigrant children crossing the border illegally" (AP's words), the wire service doesn't seem to believe the story is particularly important. As of 8:15 this morning ET, the situation had no presence on its "Big Story" page. The dominant "Big Story"? How made-up "scandals" and Democratic Party prosecutor-driven "criminal investigations" are hurting the potential 2016 presidential candidacies of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey's Chris Christie.
There are four "non-Big" AP stories on the "wave" (here, here, here, and here). One of those stories reports that "The spike in border crossers - southern Texas is now the busiest border crossing in the country - prompted the Homeland Security Department earlier this year to start sending families to other parts of Texas and Arizona for processing before releasing them at local bus stops." Here's a reasonable question which the AP reporters seem uninterested in pursuing: Why did DHS request private help in responding to the influx — in January — indicating that it somehow knew that the wave was coming?
Yesterday's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll garnered a great deal of attention, primarily because of its findings about President Barack Obama, particularly the one showing showing that "54 percent – believe the term-limited president is no longer able to lead the country."
The poll also asked respondents a series of three questions on the Common Core standards which were clearly designed to elicit majority support for them and to then mislead the public into believing that the opposition is a noisy, anti-Obama minority which should be ignored. Stories covering the poll at both NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicated as much.
At roughly 8 a.m. Eastern Time Tuesday morning, the wire service AFP (Agence France-Presse) had a story entitled "Fighting nears Baghdad as UN warns crisis 'life-threatening.'" AFP reported that "Militants pushed a weeklong offensive that has overrun swathes of Iraq to within 60 kilometres (37 miles) of Baghdad Tuesday." A Skynet video found at Gateway Pundit tells us that "ISIS Terrorists Surround Baghdad From Three Sides."
Meanwhile, as of 12:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday only one of the three Iraq-related stores (here, here and here) at the Associated Press refers — and even then only in a very late paragraph — to how ISIS (or ISIL, using AP's preferred acronym) "overran Mosul then stormed toward Baghdad."
There must have been a double delivery of Obama administration koolaid over at Bloomberg News this morning.
The business wire service, which ordinarily is slightly less imbalanced in its business and economics reporting than the Associated Press, somehow interpreted a 6.5 percent seasonally adjusted decline in housing starts during May and a nearly identical percentage drop in building permits — with both figures lower than May 2013 — as evidence that "the homebuilding industry stabilized after a first-quarter swoon." That's ridiculous. The first quarter was supposedly as bad as it was because of bad winter weather; so there should have been an overcompensating bounceback. It hasn't happened. Meanwhile, that second Bloomberg koolaid delivery must have been the one meant for AP, whose Josh Boak turned in a report noteworthy for its unusual sobriety (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Paul Whitefield "is a 30-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times who is copy chief of the editorial pages and a writer/scold for the Opinion L.A. blog." He also has a serious but far from unique case of Bush (and Cheney) Derangement Syndrome and an extraordinary ignorance of the history of last decade's war in Iraq, which included a victory in 2008 the U.S. press, with rare exceptions, refused to recognize.
Clueless Paul, in a Thursday post, claimed that what has happened recently in Iraq proves (italics are his) that "the invasion ... in 2003 wasn’t a very good idea" Admitting that "I don’t know how these things keep sneaking up on us" (I can help you with that, Paul), he petulantly wrote: "Send Mr. (George W.) Bush and Mr. (Dick) Cheney over there and let them try to negotiate a solution," because "they’re the ones who created this mess in the first place." Well no, Paul. Excerpts from Whitefield's work, followed by a pointed riposte from a National Review op-ed, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
First the good news: Ashley Fantz, Lindsey Knight and Kevin Wang at CNN did a very good job this morning in an online writeup debunking Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun group's claim "that there have been 74 school shootings in the past 18 months."
The bad news is that the web page still contains the CNN video which aired the Bloomberg claim without challenging it, thereby continuing to give it credibility.
On Thursday, Kyle Olson of Progressives Today blog spotlighted how CNN political contributor Marc Lamont Hill wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the image of Leila Khaled, an infamous Palestinian terrorist, as he conducted an interview for Huffington Post Live. Hill's shirt includes a quote from Khaled, who hijacked airplanes as a member of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine: "Resistance is not terrorism."
The Huffington Post Live host wore the red short-sleeved shirt as he interviewed author Wendy Williams on May 7, 2014. Olson zeroed in on a controversy from earlier in 2014 involving college students who wore a black version of the same shirt to a conference sponsored by the liberal group J Street:
Desperate to tie David Brat's shocking defeat tonight of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia's Republican Congressional Primary to something other than voter resistance to illegal-immigrant amnesty, some on the left are already implying that Cantor's Jewish faith had something to do with the result. The fact that the seven-term Congressman has, as far as I can tell, never gotten grief of any kind from either party about his religious affiliation seems not to matter.
After the jump, readers will find a couple of religion-tainted tweets from bona fide members of the liberal media elite, followed by interesting items I found indicating that the left-leaning Jewish community's aggressive push for "immigration reform" in a district whose voters clearly oppose it may have helped do him in.
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Friedman has partially scrubbed his Twitter bio. His Tumblr bio linked in this post remains — for now.
Late last night, Brandon Friedman, the Obama administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, unleashed a furious five-tweet barrage attacking those who dare to question whether Bowe Bergdahl served "with honor and distinction" (National Security Advisor Susan Rice's words on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday).
Friedman's tweets would already be headline news in the establishment press if an official in a Republican or conservative administration published what readers are about to see. He saved his strongest venom, couched in a question, for Bergdahl's fellow soldiers — apparently including the ones who died trying to retrieve him — after Bergdahl left his unit (HT Gateway Pundit via Hot Air):
Politico Magazine Deputy Editor Blake Hounshell has made a fool of himself yet again. Three months ago, Hounshell grudgingly and bitterly had to acknowledge that former Alaska Governor and former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was right — and he was wrong — when she predicted in 2008 that Barack Obama's weakness might cause Russia's Vladimir Putin to calculate that he could invade Ukraine without suffering meaningful consequences. That's what happened in Crimea. Hounshell characterized Palin's contention at the time as "an extremely far-fetched scenario."
In late April, he tried to claim that no one "credible" or "authoritative" had shown that the White House had knowingly pushed a false Benghazi narrative — just as award-winning reporter Sharyl Attkisson was proving otherwise. Then in a tweet Monday evening, he petulantly questioned why everyone's so concerned about the five hardened Taliban terrorists freed from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl (HT Twitchy):
Establishment press outfits have an annoying and in my view fundamentally deceptive tendency to make the content of news reports disappear once they have been "updated" with new information. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is one of this technique's most egregious practitioners.
There's really no good reason for this practice. Storage is cheap. But far more important, so is leaving tracks for the sake of the historical record. In the past 48 hours, AP has virtually deep-sixed a particularly damning incident involving Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as he crowed in front of U.S. troops about Bowe Bergdahl's release.
A month ago, I noted that the establishment press has ignored an especially pernicious program undertaken by Eric Holder's Department of Justice and the Obama administration's regulatory apparatus, namely Operation Choke Point.
On Thursday, a strong 321-87 bipartisan majority of the House passed H.R. 4660, the "Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (of) 2015." Among its provisions: "Sec. 554. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to carry out Operation Choke Point." The final bill's supporters included 204 Republicans and 117 Democrats. The establishment press has ignored the vote. Excerpts from Kelly Riddell's Friday coverage at the Washington Times follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
After investing so much emotional energy in the idea that the weather-impaired contracting U.S. economy of the first quarter is going to give way to a super-duper awesome second quarter and strong rest of the year, it was foolish to think that Martin Crutsinger at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, would backtrack after just one contradictory report on consumer spending, which "unexpectedly" fell 0.1 percent in April, confounding expectations of a 0.2 percent pickup.
And of course he didn't. What's remarkable is that Crutsinger's Friday report seemed to get even more aggressive with his second-quarter prediction, citing "some analysts" who believe that it will come in at an annualized 4 percent — quite the reversal from the first quarter's 1.0 percent annualized contraction. Meanwhile, the AP reporter missed a less buoyant report from his colleague Christopher Rugaber which punctured a bit of Crutsinger's premise. Excerpts from both items follow the jump.
I guess the PC sports press was hoping for a high-tech lyching of sorts, wherein Donald Sterling, the owner in limbo who is soon to be former owner of the National Basketall Association's Los Angeles Clippers, would be frog-marched out of his office and dumped onto Skid Row, never to be heard from again, for his undeniably racist remarks to his now ex-girlfriend about how he didn't want her bringing blacks to Clippers games while directing racial invective at other specific persons.
It's not working out that way. In fact, quite the opposite. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is reportedly paying $2 billion for the Clippers. That's quite a windfall for Sterling, considering that he apparently paid about $12.5 million for the team in the early 1980s and that the team was valued at about $575 million in the most recent related edition of Forbes. At Huffington Post and ESPN, Earl Ofari Hutchinson and Scoop Jackson, respectively, are almost beside themselves.
Imagine the press letting a Republican or conservative get away with trying to avoid uncondtionally calling something as infuriating and outrageous as the Veterans Administration waiting list scandal a real scandal.
Following President Barack Obama's speech today at West Point, the UK Daily Mailreported "tepid applause and a short standing ovation from less than one-quarter of the audience upon his introduction." In a CNN video clip found at Mediaite, Jim Clancy noted that Obama did not sound like a “commander-in-chief speaking to his troops.” He further observed: “You heard the reception; it was icy."
Melissa Harris-Perry seems to have a problem with some African-Americans making a lot of money in professional sports, apparently because some other people also make money in the process. Specifically, she seems to believe that the relationship between players in the National Basketball Association and their teams' owners is a form of slavery.
It's hard to conclude otherwise based on statements made by the MSNBC host this past Saturday. Perry introduced her segment about the Mark Cuban "controversy," wherein the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks expressed self-preservation-related desires — which he inexplicably attributed to being personally "prejudiced" and "bigoted" — to move to the other side of the street upon seeing a "black kid in a hoodie" or "a white guy with a shaved head and lot of tattoos," by saying: "You can’t really talk about (slavery) reparations and ignore the modern day wealthy Americans who own teams made up predominantly of black men and profit from their bodies and labor." In case viewers missed her take the first time, she went there again, as seen in the video which follows the jump (HT TruthRevolt via BizPac Review):
At the Weekly Standard this morning, Daniel Halper noted a CNN panel discussion wherein the network's John King and guest Maggie Haberman of the Politico discussed how furious many Democrats are with President Barack Obama's leadership, especially in connection with the Veterans administration scandal. The broadcast also reveals that the Beltway press corps has been aware of Democrats' misgivings about Obama's leadership for some time. We sure haven't heard much about it, have we?
This is noteworthy because the press eagerly broadcasts evidence of disagreements among Republicans and conservatives, and rarely does so when there is disunity on the left. The odds that we'll see much more of what aired this morning on CNN are therefore quite low. Video and a transcript follow the jump:
The press continues its disinterested fiddling while the royal mess known as Obamacare burns through money and exhausts the patience of those attempting any kind of oversight.
One of the more obvious examples of this is how the Washington Post's May 17 story on errors in calculating Obamacare subsidies has gone absolutely nowhere. About one-third of the 20 results returned in a Google News search on "healthcare subsidies" (not in quotes) at 11 p.m. ET Friday evening were partial reprints or rewrites of the original story by WaPo reporters Amy Goldstein and Sandhya Somashekhar. Most of the remaining results were from center-right outlets, while a few came from medical sites. The results didn't change much when searching on "health care" instead of "healthcare." What the WaPo pair reported is a breathtaking cacophony of incompetence which, as Heritage noted last year, won't even "solve" itself when Obamacare enrollees file their 2014 tax returns. Goldstein and Somashekhar also missed an opportunity to make a fundamental point, which is that everyone who has enrolled has some exposure.
French economist Thomas Piketty has become a darling of the left for allegedly "proving" that, as paraphrased by Chris Giles at the Financial Times, "wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war." The Media Research Center's Julia Seymour has described Piketty as a "'rock star' of the far-left," an accurate assessment given praises heaped upon his book and especially his public policy prescriptions by the likes of Alternet and Vox's especially gullible Matthew Yglesias. Seymour also notes that Piketty's work has received a great deal of favorable notice in the establishment press, and that he has met "with the Treasury Secretary" and "(President) Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers."
Of course these "oligarch groupies," as Jeffrey Lord describes them, love him. Piketty favors an 80 percent tax on incomes above $500,000 and a progressive global tax on real wealth (i.e., after subtracting debt). The problem is that FT's Giles, having done a deep dive into the economist's data and spreadsheets, has found serious problems in the professor's work which nullify his conclusions.
At a website called Girard at Large in Manchester, New Hampshire, proprietor Richard Girard videotaped and reported on the proceedings of a debate held at St. Anselm's College on the Common Core educational standards — something you'll almost never see anyone in the establishment press deign to do.
Girard appropriately described proponents' descriptions of and arguments in favor of the standards "revealing," "enlightening," and "well, frightening." Perhaps no statement made during the two-hour event Monday contained more of all three adjectives than one made by Dr. David Pook, a teacher at The Derryfield School in Manchester, about what motivated him to get involved with having input into the English Language Arts standards. Brace yourself (HT BizPac Review; specific audio segment is at this link; bolds are mine throughout this post; May 22 Update: Mr. Pook's comment was slightly revised at the original link for accuracy; that revision is now reflected below):
One would think that Florida Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia can only get so many free passes from the national press before they'll have to acknowledge his serious problems. We'll see.
Back in January, the Associated Press and the rest of the national establishment media managed to limit their coverage of the arrest and ultimate guilty plea of Garcia's chief of staff for illegally plotting to obtain absentee ballot to local outlets. They did this even though — or perhaps because — the Congressman excused the man's attack on election integrity, for which he received a wrist-slap sentence of 90 days in jail, as "a well-intentioned attempt to maximize voter turnout." A week or so ago, there was an ear wax incident, which I'd rather skip. Earlier today, America Rising posted a far more important video, wherein the congressman bizarrely claimed — he says he wasn't serious, but it doesn't sound like it to me — that additional money spent on Mexican border security proves that "communism works."
During the Obama administration, the Associated Press has annually gone through the motions of noting its lack of transparency in responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. In March, its coverage of 2013 FOIA results led with the following sentence: "The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data." Then everyone went back to work defending the administration against the information seekers.
Part of that defense includes mischaracterizing the legal hurdles those who file FOIA requests must overcome to get the administration to do what it is legally required to do right off the bat. Three sentences from recent coverage of Judicial Watch's attempts to pry information out of the State Department will make my point.
Did you catch the story about those conservative Republican male chauvinist pig politicians in Florida who think that it was a waste of time to pass a bill which would make it a crime for a guy to secretly administer an abortion-inducing drug to a spouse or partner he impregnated? How utterly outrageous ... Wait a minute ... It was Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz who said that? C'mon, that's not possible. What? There's audio of her saying that on a Florida public radio station? Get outta here. If that were true, the press would be printing and broadcasting stories on her outrageous statement 24/7 ... wouldn't they?
Well, no. The audio of Wasserman Schultz can be found here at WFSU in Tallahassee. Excerpts from the related report by Sascha Kordner follow the jump:
The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift is at it again, this time tripling-down on her ridiculous assertion that Ambassador Chris Stevens “was not murdered” in the Benghazi terrorist attack.
Clift penned a May 15 article inThe Daily Beast entitled “My Benghazi Scandal” where she proclaimed “I may be under fire from conservatives for saying Ambassador Stevens wasn’t murdered in Benghazi, but I’m not backing down. Here’s why I said what I did.” [Update included below.]