If you bother to read Joanna Weiss' column in today's Boston Globe, expect to get a sense of déjà . . . lu. Like untold polemics that have preceded it, "Hollywood’s burden on aging women" stamps its feet over the unequal treatment of aging in men and women.
You know: male stars are allowed to age gracefully, but women must struggle ever-harder to conform to a youthful stereotype of sex-appeal. Unfair!
The feminist response is to blame the culture, in this case embodied by Hollywood, for promoting shallow, sexist values. But the fault, dear Joanna, is not in our stars but in ourselves, or more precisely, our DNA.
UPDATE, Jan. 1, 2010:This post at BizzyBlog shows that the there was recognition of likely Al Qaeda involvement in two separate press reports based on sources in a position to know on Christmas evening. Thus, the administration's delay in acknowledging that reality was actually three full days.
In their initial December 26 report ("Passengers’ Quick Action Halted Attack") on the attempted terrorist attack on Flight 253, New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Eric Lipton told readers that the "episode .... riveted the attention of President Obama on vacation in Hawaii."
In an article later that day ("Officials Point to Suspect’s Claim of Qaeda Ties in Yemen"), Lipton and Eric Schmitt reported that:
.... officials said the suspect (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) told them he had obtained explosive chemicals and a syringe that were sewn into his underwear from a bomb expert in Yemen associated with Al Qaeda.
The authorities have not independently corroborated the Yemen connection .... But a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said on Saturday that the suspect’s account was “plausible,” and that he saw “no reason to discount it.”
Any reasonable person would say that this second report establishes "reason to believe that there is some linkage" between the suspect and Al Qaeda, and that a "riveted" president would have known that there was "some linkage" by Saturday night. That's why the following opener to a Washington Post item by Anne E. Kornblut dated yesterday is especially hard to take:
On Thursday, the Treasury Department issued a press release, called "Update on Status of Support for Housing Programs." Its fourth paragraph reads as follows:
At the time the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship in September 2008, Treasury established Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (PSPAs) to ensure that each firm maintained a positive net worth. Treasury is now amending the PSPAs to allow the cap on Treasury's funding commitment under these agreements to increase as necessary to accommodate any cumulative reduction in net worth over the next three years. At the conclusion of the three year period, the remaining commitment will then be fully available to be drawn per the terms of the agreements.
Translation: No matter how badly things further deteriorate at these former government sponsored enterprises, both of which since last year in essence have become government-controlled enterprises, Uncle Sam (i.e., current and future generations of taxpayers) will cover their losses.
Here is how three different news outlets headlined this Treasury/Obama administration move:
On December 8, Susan Gustafson at MLive.com proclaimed that "GM's announcement of no more layoffs is good news after years of hemorrhaging jobs":
General Motors' announcement this morning that it plans no further layoffs in the immediate future is huge news for both the automaker and Michigan as a whole after years of steady erosion in the ranks of hourly and salaried workers.
.... the company doesn't expect the numbers of hourly workers on indefinite layoff to increase.
In its obituary on the passing of Nobel economics laureate Paul Samuelson, who died on December 13, Michael Weinstein at the New York Times lavished well-deserved praise on the winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Economics for building "one of the world’s great centers of graduate education in economics" at MIT, but erred seriously in recounting his most visible public policy role.
Also worth noting is how the Times headline at Samuelson's obit compares to those the paper accorded Milton Friedman and John Kenneth Galbraith upon their deaths. Friedman and Galbraith were also pioneering economists in their own right who passed away after living into their 90s during the final half of this decade:
Friedman (November 16, 2006) -- "Milton Friedman, Free Markets Theorist, Dies at 94."
Galbraith (April 30, 2006) -- "John Kenneth Galbraith, 97, Dies; Economist Held a Mirror to Society."
Of the three, only the free market capitalism-championing Friedman, who like Samuelson but unlike Galbraith was a Nobel-winningeconomist, was deemed undeserving of being identified as a member of his chosen profession in his Times obit's headline.
More seriously, Weinstein rewrites history to give Samuelson significant credit for the prosperity of the 1960s where very little is due.
Yesterday at NewsBusters, Geoffrey Dickens documented the furor of MSNBC's Chris Mathews over the results of an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (PDF).
Specifically, Mathews was irked that the Tea Party Movement (TPM) was viewed quite a bit more favorably than the two major political parties by those polled (VP=Very Positive; SP=Somewhat Positive; N=Neutral; SN=Somewhat Negative; VN=Very Negative; DK=No Opinion):
Tea Party Movement: VP-20%; SP-21%; N-21%; SN-10%; VN-13%; DK-15%
Mathews dismissed the TPM's convincing advantage over the established parties, especially in higher strong positives and lower strong negatives, as being the result of a biased poll question working in the Tea Partiers' favor. I don't think so. In fact, I think the result occurred even though the question is loaded against the TPM.
Here is the full text of the Tea Party poll question (Question 14b, Page 11; bolds are mine):
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
Francis, an editor-at-large, published her article in Canada's national business newspaper, The Financial Post, the day after the much-hyped climate change conference kicked off in Copenhagen. She argued that "China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world's leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict."
"China has proven that birth restriction is smart policy," said Francis. "Its middle class grows, all its citizens have housing, health care, education and food, and the one out of five human beings who live there are not overpopulating the planet."
Francis wrote direly that there would be irreversible consequences unless "all countries drastically reduce their populations."
In their report on Ford's November sales results, the Associated Press's Tom Krisher and Dee-Ann Durbin seemed to downplay the company's pretty decent month, and definitely downplayed the company's better near-term prospects compared to its principal rivals. Additionally, despite the report's Wednesday time stamp, the pair didn't update the item's content to compare Ford's performance to its competitors.
The New York Times’s Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff published a long Saturday report on the Food Stamp program that went into print on Sunday.
This is the second of three posts on their coverage; the first went up earlier today at NewsBusters and BizzyBlog. It addressed the pair's seeming happiness with the massive increase in program participation, their apparent unhappiness that 15-16 million who could be getting Food Stamps aren't, and their sense of relief that the "stigma" attached to being on a form of government dole has significantly dissipated.
This post will deal with something that should have been right in front of the Times pair's faces: Even before considering loosened eligibility standards (the third post will deal with that), Food Stamp benefits (gross and net) have increased by much more than the rate of food inflation during the past couple of years, especially in the past year, during which the increase in net benefits has been a whopping 30%.
Here are a few article excerpts from the Times report that deal with benefit levels (the first excerpted paragraph originally appeared in between the two other sets of paragraphs presented):
In a long Saturday report on the Food Stamp program that went into print on Sunday, the New York Times's Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff:
Almost seemed to celebrate the program's explosive growth.
Bemoaned the fact that many who could participate do not.
Both in their title ("Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades") and text, cheered the loss of stigma that has long been associated with the program.
Failed to note not only gross and net benefit increases during the past two years that have far outpaced real inflation in food prices, but also the loosening of eligibility rules in many states, including Ohio.
Speaking of Ohio, omitted key facts and injected blatant bias into a situation from earlier this year in the Buckeye State's Warren County that outraged those who believe the program was meant only for those who would truly suffer if its benefits weren't available.
DeParle's and Gebeloff's work is part of a Times series that "examines how the safety net is holding up under the worst economic crisis in decades." My series of posts on the pair's report with have three parts. This first one will deal with the first three items listed above.
New York Times environment reporter Andrew C. Revkin had a post yesterday that was primarily about an open letter from Judith Curry.
Revkin describes her as "a seasoned climate scientist at Georgia Tech .... (who) has no skepticism about a growing human influence on climate." Revkin writes that "Dr. Curry has written a fresh essay that’s essentially a message to young scientists potentially disheartened in various ways by recent events."
Here are some of the key paragraphs from Curry's letter that touch on that matter:
Tankersley identifies all kinds of supposed factors that seem to have influenced the president's alleged change of heart on attending, while ignoring one that seems more than a little possible -- the need to get some kind of one-world commitment done before enough of the world learns of the fraud that is Climategate.
To say that there's good reason not to be impressed with a quite a few U.S. Senators is to state the obvious.
But I really hope that Dana Milbank either hasn't read or really doesn't remember A Streetcar Named Desire. Because in his coverage of the Senate vote last night to go forward to debate on its health care bill, the alleged journalist stooped well below the level of most of the blogosphere by in essence calling the United States Senate the House of 100 Prostitutes -- and worse.
Yes he did -- in a column the Post put on the top of the front page.
After observing the opportunistic, advantage-taking machinations of Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas in return for the final two "yes" votes needed for passage, Milbank wrote the following:
At this point, there should be little doubt that there is a concerted attempt underway to use the war in Afghanistan as a justification for punitively taxing high earners.
Last weekend (noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the New York Times discovered that wars cost money. It cited Wisconsin Democratic Congressman David Obey's concern that funding the Afghanistan effort at the level requested months ago by General Stanley A. McChrystal would "devour virtually any other priorities that the president or anyone in Congress had."
Thursday, as reported by AFP (noted last night at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), House Democratic heavy-hitters Barney Frank, John Murtha, and (no surprise) Obey announced the "Share The Sacrifice Act of 2010," an income-tax surcharge that overwhelmingly targets high-income earners.
Now Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin has weighed in. Bloomberg dutifully carried his water, as seen in this graphic containing the first four paragraphs of the report:
In what appears to be the opening round of a rearguard action against what leftists used to call "the good war" (only because they felt they needed to pretend they had pro-war bona fides to make their anti-Iraq War arguments look stronger to the general populace), the New York Times's Christopher Drew reported last Saturday for the Sunday print edition that sending more troops to Afghanistan as General Stanley A. McChrystal has requested might cost tens of billions of dollars.
While President Obama’s decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan is primarily a military one, it also has substantial budget implications that are adding pressure to limit the commitment, senior administration officials say.
I believe that the comment (bolded) could be seen as shining a less than flattering light on the president's mindset:
Obama arrived on the base 3:19 p.m. local time (1 a.m. Eastern Standard Time), and received a rousing welcome from 1,500 troops in camouflage uniforms, many holding cameras or pointing cell phones to snap pictures.
"You guys make a pretty good photo op," the president said.
Does anyone think that a similar comment by Bush 43 would have escaped establishment media criticism? Let's see if this Obamism slides by without criticism.
Earlier in the report, Kornblut noted that Obama's Afghan dither continues:
Isn't that Paul Krugman clever? The title of his latest op-ed ("Paranoia Strikes Deep") quotes a line, presumably deliberately, from a 1960s protest song many consider one of the opening shots in that decade's protest movement.
Before he got cute with his title, Krugman should have gone to the song's full lyrics, as they only serve to prove that what he describes as paranoia is, based on what is in HB 3962 (or was, if excised at the last minute), really very justifiable concern and fear. Or maybe he read the lyrics and was too dense to appreciate their meaning in the current circumstances.
That band featured Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Jim Messina, and Dewey Martin. A YouTube of their lip-synching Smothers Brothers appearance is here.
Here are a few paragraphs, otherwise known as insults to our intelligence, from Krugman, commenting on the crowd that gathered last Thursday to protest the House's statist health care bill. I'll follow it with the song's final lyrical lament that destroys Krugman's diatribe:
Remember the case of the Census worker who was found hanging from a tree with the word ‘fed' scrawled across his chest? You remember - he died at the hands of right-wing commentators and anti-government tea partiers. He was killed because of an overwhelming case of right-wing paranoia. He was murdered by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann, and Fox News.
Keep this quiet though...
While the death of Bill Sparkman was a media sensation for pushing anti-conservative sentiments just a couple of months ago, it is receiving little to no coverage currently. Why? Because, as investigators have recently speculated, there is a possibility that he died by his own hands.
Well, that just doesn't make for interesting news at the so-called legitimate news organizations.
As the AP states,
"The strange case attracted national attention when it first came to light, prompting worries that it may be a sign of increased anger toward the federal government in the first year of Barack Obama's presidency."
Prompting worries from whom? The unhinged left wishing to create sensational accusations? Check. The list follows:
Here's news you can virtually guarantee won't get noticed by what remains of the establishment media.
Whole Foods (WFMI) announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30 yesterday. The quarter closed about 50 days after outraged leftists called for a boycott of the grocery chain to retaliate for a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by CEO John Mackey. In that column, Mackey identified "Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit," asserting that:
The last thing our country needs is a massive new health care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction — toward less government control and more individual empowerment.
Well, if there's so much support out there for statist health care, you would think that the Whole Foods boycott dedicated to punishing an opponent would have had a significant impact on the company's most recent quarterly results.
In an interview on CNBC's Nov. 3 "Squawk Box," following the announcement of his purchase of Burlington Northern (NYSE:BNI), Buffett was asked to comment on the future of news media, in particular newspapers and business news by "Squawk Box" co-host Becky Quick. Buffett is optimistic on the future of business news.
"Our system has just gotten started," Buffett said. "I mean, we've had a couple of hundred years of progress, but we have not exhausted our potential in this country. America's about business and business in America, you know have gone to greatness hand and hand. So, you do not need to worry about CNBC 10 or 20 or 30 years from now. Business will always be important to the American public."
Laurie Kellman, call your office, check your e-mail, and tap in to your Twitter.
The Associated Press reporter didn't get the memo that recession is supposedly over, and that at a minimum you shouldn't be writing as if it will be with us for a while. She also erred in citing the weak economy as a bad thing for Democrats. The New York Times told us about a week ago that a bad economy is a good thing for Democrats who want to pass state-controlled health care and other freedom-restricting agenda items, because a bad economy increases personal insecurity. They're such pals of the little guy, you see.
Both busts against the conventional media wisdom are in Kellman's brief item from late this morning (bolds are mine):
Health care issues: Hold off for a better economy?
The paper's headline at its report on Thursday's government announcement that the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came in at an annualized 3.5% after four consecutive quarters of decline was not only over the top. Its message went directly against an admonishment by an economist quoted in Paul Davidson's underlying report, which was to not "get carried away by the really strong number."
Many commentators, while gratified that GDP growth occurred, have cautioned that the growth was influenced heavily by government programs that either have already run their course with debatable long-term impact (e.g., Cash for Clunkers), or are probably not going to last much longer even if extended (e.g., the first-time homebuyers' credit), simply because the government is running trillion-dollar annual deficits and can't afford them.
Bloggers and their readers have "joked" about the New York Times being the official house organ of the Obama White House. Maybe it's not a joke.
Earlier this month (as seen at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), several bloggers caught the Times making significant changes to its initial coverage of Chicago's humiliating loss of its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and of President Obama's involvement in that loss. The first Times report by Peter Baker was fairly harsh, questioning the President's judgment in getting involved, while citing his slipping poll ratings.
After Times organ grinder -- er, reporter -- Jeff Zeleny got a hold of the story, most of the harshness went away, as did Baker's original story. All of a sudden, at the same URL, there was no reference to tarnished presidential prestige. A dismissive assertion that the embarrassment "would fade in a news cycle or two" appeared. There was also a mention of Obama's 25-minute meeting with Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal that was not in the original. The reference to falling poll numbers also disappeared.
Well, the Times has just pulled a similar stunt in its coverage of President Obama's Wednesday night/Thursday morning visit to Dover Air Force Base. Once again, Jeff Zeleny is involved.
It's bad enough we have to bailout banks and auto manufacturers or spread around subsidies for wasteful, inefficient forms of energy like ethanol and morally reprehensible institutions like ACORN and Planned Parenthood.
However, now a couple of the wizards of smart that have managed to land a spot in the editorial pages of The Washington Post are lobbying for journalism subsidies.
In the Oct. 30 Post, the co-founders of Free Press, John Nichols of the liberal publication, the Nation and Robert McChesney, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggested it's time for the government to prop-up beleaguered journalists to "spawn" so-called independent media. Nichols and McChesney make the case that newspapers are important for two reasons - one not-so important one and one arguably legitimate one. They maintain President Barack Obama believes newspapers are important and that they play an important part keeping government in check. But in order for them to sustain this vital role in our culture, they say it's time for the government to lend a hand.
The latest newspaper circulation numbers, measuring copies sold from April through September of this year, show a 10.6 percent decline in daily newspaper sales, the first double-digit drop in circulation ever. Newspaper readership is now at its lowest level since before World War II.
The biggest losers during this six-month period, as reported by NewsBusters's Tom Blumer, were the San Francisco Chronicle (down 25.8 percent daily), the Newark Star-Ledger (down 22.2 percent daily), and the Boston Globe (down 18.5 percent daily).
The New York Times's sales during the period fell to 927,861, the first time the paper sold less than 1 million copies in that time span in decades. The Wall Street Journal saw a 0.6 percent increase in circulation, making it the most purchased newspaper in the country. The Journal surpassed USA Today, whose circulation declined by over 17 percent.
In late September, Florida Congressional Democrat Alan Grayson earned attention and apparently fawning support from the far left by describing the Republican Party's health care plan, as "1. Don't get sick; 2. And if you do get sick, 3. die quickly."
Grayson's supposed apology for these over-the-top remarks on the House Floor -- remarks that would surely have earned him censure and relentless media coverage had he been a Republican criticizing a Democrat -- consisted of saying, as paraphrased by Clay Waters of NewsBusters, that his "remorse was not for Republicans, rather for the dead .... comparing the existing health care system to the Holocaust."
Little did we know that in September, Grayson made himself a House ogre with his floor remarks, he hurled a grievously sexist and offensive insult at a senior Federal Reserve adviser. Wait until you see what he called Linda Robertson on the apparently syndicated but apparently lightly heeded Alex Jones show (relevant audio begins at about 0:35 of the 1:43 YouTube video; Warning - Objectionable language follows):
Brent Bozell was hardly alone yesterday in touting new polls showing a surge for conservatism in reaction to Barack Obama's forever-lengthening statist agenda. Also making the rounds is Nile Gardiner's blog for the Telegraph (of the UK) suggesting President Obama has failed to defeat American conservatism:
This week’s striking Gallup poll on political ideology is further confirmation that the United States is in essence a conservative nation, which has ironically become even more conservative under Barack Obama. According to Gallup, 40 percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36 percent as moderate and 20 percent as liberal. This is the first time conservatives have outnumbered moderates in America since 2004.
It's a variation on the old riddle, "What's black and white, but read all over?"
If you change one word and add two others, the answer to the resulting question -- "What's still mostly black and white, but red all over?" -- would be, based on just-released information about their daily circulation, "all but one of the nation's top 25 newspapers turning in comparative numbers."
Here are a few paragraphs from Michael Liedtke's coverage of the carnage at the Associated Press, which depends largely on newspaper subscription fees for its lifeblood. Note the "so far" reference in Liedtke's third paragraph: