Admission: Lawrence O'Donnell is emerging as one of my favorite media liberals. On the one hand, almost exactly one year ago, his anti-Mormon rant spurred me to action. But lately, watching him as a frequent MSNBC guest, I've been impressed by his acumen and willingness to call them as he sees them.
Take O'Donnell's intervention on tonight's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," where he made the salient point that the scandal of the Marc Rich pardon is, ironically, being held against AG nominee Eric Holder . . . while Hillary Clinton skates.
During the 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry tried to overcome the dubious distinction of being, per the National Journal, the most liberal senator. His attempts to deny the obvious led to a memorable exchange with NYT's Elisabeth Bumiller [transcript after jump] in which he famously fended off the liberal label as a "laughable characterization."
But four years later, having lost the presidency and just this week failed in his bid to become Secretary of State, perhaps Kerry calculates he has nothing left to lose. Writing at the Huffington Post, he's letting his liberal flag, or progressive pennant, to be precise, fly.
At this time of year, columns like Derrick Z. Jackson's of today condemning the materialism of the Christmas shopping season are as traditional as Budweiser's Clydesdale-drawn sleigh commercial. And part of me is sympathetic with Jackson's call for people to spurn the malls and curtail their gift-giving budgets.
But this of all years, did the Boston Globe columnist consider the disastrous consequences for the economy and the lives of millions of Americans if people were actually to heed his advice? Apparently not. Jackson's radical suggestion [emphasis added]:
I have a suggestion for these holidays. The average American, according to the government, consumes six times more energy than the world average. Take whatever you spent on gifts last year, slash 5/6ths of it, and see what you can do with the rest - unless of course you make a charitable donation. You're broke anyway, right, so what's the harm?
It's a good thing Barack Obama was elected. Otherwise, the nation's glum Thanksgiving mood might have been downright funereal. At least, that's the impression the New York Times gives in its decidedly downbeat article about the holiday.
"In Lean Times, Comfort in a Bountiful Meal" tells the story of people from coast to coast virtually weeping into their turkey and cranberry sauce. Whether it's a Los Angeles illustrator whose work has fallen 50%, a youngish Ohio husband and wife who've both lost their jobs, or even an equities trader on the Upper West Side who can't bear to open his personal investment statements, the prevailing mood is blue.
With one bright exception: at least we have Obama.
During the presidential campaign, we constantly heard from Team Obama and the media (excuse the redundancy) was how Republican-inspired deregulation had let evil bankers and capitalists run roughshod over the economy and created the current credit mess.
Well, a lot of the deregulation was GOP-inspired, but that isn't what caused the situation that I like to refer to as The Great SUCKUP (The Seemingly Unlimited Cash Kitty Under Paulson).
What John Berlau has found at Reason Online is that the Clinton Administration loved 1990s financial deregulation so much that it cited it as a major accomplishment.
NBC Universal made the first of potentially several rounds of staffing cuts at The Weather Channel (TWC) on Wednesday, axing the entire staff of the "Forecast Earth" environmental program .....
The layoffs totaled about 10 percent of the workforce, and are among the first major changes made since NBC completed its purchase of the venerable weather network in September.
..... The timing of the Forecast Earth cancellation was ironic, since it came in the middle of NBC's "Green Week," during which the network has been touting its environmental coverage across all of its platforms. Forecast Earth normally aired on weekends, but its presumed last episode was shown on a weekday due to the environmentally-oriented week.
In an MSM eager for the advent of the Age of Obama, Kate Snow may have taken the cake. The weekend GMA co-host almost sounded as if she were calling for some kind of coup d'etat, musing whether Obama should be urgently "forcing" change before he takes office. How over the top was Snow? She had to be talked down from her fin de regime fantasy but none other than . . . Paul Krugman.
ABC reporter John Hendren set the tone for the notion that time is dangerously a-wasting.
JOHN HENDREN: As with Hoover and FDR, the ideological gap between Bush and Obama could be too broad to bridge, leaving us with two more months of costly economic drift.
A little later, interviewing Krugman, Snow made her startling suggstion.
For years, little would upset liberals more than the suggestion they were less patriotic than other Americans. The crowd spewing "Bush-Hitler-Genghis-Khan-baby-killers-AmeriKKKa-Ho-Ho-Ho-Chi-Minh"? Great patriots, all. Bill Ayers trampling a flag? Dissent is patriotic, dude.
But now that Barack Obama has been elected, comes an admission, unintended as it may be. Yeah, maybe we weren't so much before, but it's cool to be patriotic. Now. Such can be seen in Derrick Z. Jackson's Boston Globe column of today, 'It's OK to be an American now." From Jackson's opening paragraph [emphasis added]:
Before Obama's victory speech in Chicago, the crowd of 125,000 people said the Pledge of Allegiance. In my 53 years I have never heard such a multicultural throng recite the pledge with such determined enunciation, expelling it from the heart in a treble soaring to the skies and a bass drumming through the soil to vibrate my feet.
In other words, they would have to pay you to take what is rapidly becoming Manhattan's quaint little alternative newspaper off their hands.
Yesterday, New York Times Company stock closed at $5.72. That is, by far, its lowest close in the 22 years presented in this chart at Yahoo!:
Before today's opening bell, the company is worth $822 million,
Using conservatively adjusted numbers from a hysterically titled July 25 Business Week article about the company ("How Can The New York Times Be Worth So Little?"), I will show that the market currently sees the New York Times newspaper as literally being worse than worthless.
Here are the two key paragraphs from Business Week's original "analysis":
Remember the years of media flak President George W. Bush received for his alleged use for political gain of first the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and then the related Afghanistan and Iraq Wars?
Will the press be as vociferous now? Incoming Obama Administration Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, speaking on Wednesday on and to the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, stated outright his desire to make political hay with the ongoing travails of the U.S. and global economy:
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
Wonder why President-elect Obama resigned from the Senate so early (while Vice President-elect Joe Biden remains an active member) and is hanging back, not wading into the debate over bailouts etc, and naming candidates for nearly every Cabinet post save Treasury (the man or woman who will have $350 billion to dispense when he/she walks through the door)?
As Barack Obama appears to be appointing less than totally pro-surrender officials to his inner circle, far leftists are feeling constrained in their criticism by Obama Mania.
A Los Angeles Times article by Paul Richter with an amusing title ("Antiwar groups fear Barack Obama may create hawkish Cabinet") notes that Obama has appointed or is considering many people who originally supported the war in Iraq (this apparently automatically makes them "hawks").
Richter's hawkish characterization of the likes of Richard Holbrooke, Hillary Clinton, Vice-president Elect Joe Biden, and John Kerry is inadvertently amusing to any reader who has followed the machinations in Washington since the 110th Congress began in January 2006.
Richter goes to one peace activist, Kevin Martin, to "prove" that Obama is a "centrist." But in the process, as noted in my bold, we see an antiwar zealot acknowledge that Obama Mania has gone over the top:
Joe Scarborough didn't cotton to being called a "socialist," but that's just the label Krystia Freeland laid on him during today's Morning Joe. The Financial Times editor used the s-word to describe what she mockingly described as Joe's "touching faith" in the wisdom of government bureaucrats when it comes to reorganizing Detroit automakers.
The Morning Joe host didn't take the insult lying down.
Panelist Pat Buchanan and Scarborough had been making the case over the course of the opening segments that Detroit was too important to be allowed to go under. Then Freeland came on, preaching bankruptcy over bailout, and the ruckus erupted . . .
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):
Frank Rich has apparently figured out that after January 20, it's not going to be as much fun for him. True, the Times columnist will surely disinter W as necessary to explain away Obama's missteps. But the buck for whatever post-inauguration problems the country faces will land ever more resoundingly on the new president's desk.
And so, like a vaudevillian tapping as fast as he can while anticipating the hook, Rich seems determined to spend these last few weeks of the Bush administration dancing on GOP graves and luxuriating in Republicans' perceived pain. You might say Frank is making hatred while the sun shines.
As we discussed last week in Have Fun For Now, Frank, Rich's immediate post-election column was one long poke in the Republican eye. The Timester is back at it again this morning, outdoing himself in sheer vitriol as he pour buckets of salt, generously seasoned with schadenfreude, into Republican wounds.
The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) has been committing crimes that would cause private companies performing similar acts to be raided and/or shut down: issuing fake Social Security numbers to foreigner with visas and/or illegal immigrants to get them on the payroll.
This is serious stuff. Yet Hobbs and her paper did everything they could to minimize the impact of the story, as seen in these excerpts:
Why wasn't there more of this before the election?
The headline at a Greenville, SC News story carried at USA Today says, "Priest urges penance for Obama voters."
Father Jay Scott Newman is actually demanding it of those who would claim to be faithful Catholics. In the process, he is also stating longstanding Church policy on abortion that has largely been absent from Sunday pre-election homilies at Catholic churches for at least a half-dozen presidential election cycles -- policy that Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and other politicians who claim to be Catholic have long ignored (bolds are mine):
In a new afterword to his memoir, 1960s radical William Ayers describes himself as a "family friend" of President-elect Barack Obama and writes that the campaign controversy over their relationship was an effort by Obama's political enemies to "deepen a dishonest narrative" about the candidate.
Wednesday evening's dour Associated Press report by Tom Krisher and Ken Thomas on the proposed bailouts of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler acted as if their fates will determine the viability of the entire US auto industry, and waited until the 15th paragraph to name the primary reason why the companies are where they are financially. Beyond that, the AP report did not mention that United Auto Workers has flatly ruled out union contract concessions.
Here is how the AP's report began, followed by selected other paragraphs, including the one (of over 30) that mentioned labor costs (bolds after headline are mine):
The litmus test results are in: If you're against the legalization of same-sex marriage and are discovered, you can't be involved in the performing arts in California, even though the majority of potential patrons in your state agree with you.
Under the pressure of a threatened boycott, the artistic director of a Sacramento theater has stepped down after it was learned that he contributed to Yes side ("yes, same-sex marriage should be prohibited") of the supposedly Golden State's Proposition 8 campaign.
A boycott of the theater was called Tuesday by some in the national arts community when news broke that Eckern contributed $1,000 to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign, which supported the ban on gay marriage.
Matthew Vadum (Right) Speaking Truth to Flower PowerAs Bill Cosby said via Fat Albert and the Gang, it's like school on Saturday: No class.
NewsBusters.org Contributor, the estimable Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center, made an October 30th appearance on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, during which he discussed the many illegal activities of the community organizing group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and their long relationship with the media's all-time favorite candidate: Illinois Democratic Senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Soon thereafter, Mr. Vadum changed his Facebook Profile photograph to one of him hamming it up with his Daily Show interlocutor John Oliver.
This was all too much for New York Times reporter Dan Mitchell. Mitchell sent Mr. Vadum a poison Halloween Facebook email, which is hostile from start to finish and in which he calls Mr. Vadum the aforementioned body part.
The Mitchell email in its entirety, with the one word redacted so as to maintain our G-rating:
Give them credit for noticing. Pass out demerits for incompleteness.
Friday's USA Today carried a slightly inaccurate Page 1A tease ("Iraq is safer for US troops; October is on track to tie July for the month with fewest combat deaths"). It went to a top of Page 7A story ("US Deaths in Iraq on track for record low") that noticed how relatively well the month of October has gone for our troops in Iraq. That still is the case, with hours to go in the calendar month in Iraq. Reporter Charles Levinson even noticed that there have been no hostile US troop deaths in Baghdad during the entire month.
But Levinson missed the opportunity to notice even better longer-term results in Iraq. He also failed to notice that coalition troop deaths in Afghanistan, again with hours to go until the end of the month, are less than half of that seen in previous months. Finally, he didn't catch this remarakable fact, given the gloom that seems to abound over the supposedly intractable situation in Afghanistan -- Combined theater troop deaths in October have been the lowest in over four years. (Straight zeroes everywhere would, of course, be ideal.)
Here are the key paragraphs from Levinson's report:
Neuharth claimed that today's newspapers play the news straight, while in the "olden days" they didn't.
Put down all drinks before reading (bolds are mine):
Fewer newspapers try to dictate votes Plain Talk by Al Neuharth
More newspaper bosses across the USA have wised up to the fact that you readers are smart enough to decide who to vote for in Tuesday's election. Newspapers making presidential editorial endorsements this year likely will be the lowest percentage ever. Editor & Publisher, the trade journal, compiles the numbers.
On Tuesday, Editor & Publisher released daily and Sunday newspaper circulation figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations as of September 30, along with percentage changes from the preceding year. Showing that the press can't even report accurately about itself E&P's accompanying commentary vastly understated the situation:
Most Major Papers Continue Circ Decline
According to ABC for the 507 newspapers reporting in this period, daily circulation slipped 4.6% to 38,165,848 copies. For the 571 papers, Sunday dropped 4.8% to 43,631,646 copies.
For comparison purposes, in September 2007 reporting period, daily circ fell 2.6% and Sunday was down 4.6%.
"Most"? Try "Virtually All." The daily figures show that all but two of the top 25 papers lost circulation during the previous 12 months (USA today and he Wall Street Journal both gained a "whopping" 0.01%). Only the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at +0.80%, gained on Sundays. E&P's commentary cited precious few tiny increases at non-Top 25 papers.
If you think the one-year news is bad, check out what has happened during the past five:
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported today that former Republican Governor Arne Carlson (Minn.) has endorsed Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's presidential bid. Carlson heralded himself as a "Republican maverick" and hailed Obama as a potentially "truly great president." Tribune staffer Mike Kaszuba failed to label Carlson's ideology, but suggested in the second paragraph of his October 23 article that Carlson saw himself in the lineage of "the moderate philosophies of past Republican leaders such as Ohio Sen. Robert Taft and President Dwight Eisenhower."
Left unmentioned by the Tribune's Mike Kaszuba was that Carlson -- who was governor from 1991 to 1999 -- had a left-of-center record, particularly early in his tenure when he hiked taxes and pushed government-run health care.
The Media Research Center's Director of Communications and NewsBusters.org Contributing Editor Seton Motley appeared on the Fox News Channel's Fox News Live yesterday to discuss another New York Times hit job on the McCains, this one on wife Cindy.
Motley decries the Times sleazy, sub-tabloid tactics, points out their total fealty to Michelle Obama in a June profile and delineates the proper bounds to be observed in what is and is not fair game for the media regarding the spouses and families of candidates.
Story after story on the full-year results for the federal budget refers to the size of the full-year deficit for the fiscal year that just ended on September 30 ($455 billion), and how it compares to last year's deficit ($162 billion).
Almost none of them talk about why the deficit ballooned.
I wonder why?
Could it be because the Democrat-controlled Congress of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid allowed spending to spiral out of control?
The son of an 8-term Democratic congressman from Illinois has pleaded guilty to having sex with jail inmates under his charge, the Chicago Sun-Times News Group reported today. Yet the congressman's Democratic Party affiliation was left out of the story altogether:
The son of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush will spend six months in jail after pleading guilty to having sexual encounters with two female inmates and arranging encounters with another while serving as a state prison official.
Jeffrey M. Rush, 42, of the 700 block of Brookfield Court in Lake Zurich, pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of official misconduct and agreed to a sentence of 180 days in the Kane County Jail and three years probation, according to a release from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office.
Two of the charges stem from sexual relationships Rush had with two female prison inmates between Feb. 1 and June 18, 2007, while he was serving as head of security at the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center at 1329 Lake St. in Aurora, the release said.
Poor Karl Ritter and Matt Moore of the Associated Press must have a lot of time to kill, a dearth of ideas, and a studied disinterest in accuracy as they await the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Economics in Stockholm, Sweden on Monday. A list of past winners is here.
Besides lamenting that no woman has ever won the Economics Prize (so?), the AP pair felt the need to relate the financial bailout passed by Congress and signed by the President a week ago, and the current steep stock market decline that followed it (or, as yours truly and Investors Business Daily would argue, occurred because of it), to who might win the award.
Along the way, they, as AP reporters are wont to do, erred, and quite seriously.
Here's how their report, weirdly entitled "Amid the meltdown, economics Nobel no easy pick," began (bold is mine):