The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly report on "mass layoffs" yesterday. It also included annual totals and an eleven-year chart of mass layoff history.
A "mass layoff action" involves "at least 50 persons from a single establishment." Since 1988, employers have been required to give 60 days notice of "covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs." The BLS Mass Layoffs report compiles those notices.
Now that 2006 is in the record books, here is that eleven-year chart:
As you can see, the total number of "layoff events" in 2006 came in at the lowest on record (BLS began compiling these statistics during the second quarter of 1995), while the number of people who filed unemployment claims as a result of those layoffs was the lowest in 10 years. On a percentage-of-workforce basis, the number of unemployment claims filers in 2006 was also, along with the layoff events, the lowest in the 11 full years BLS has reported on this information.
In response to president Bush's State of the Union Address, the Washington Post's main criticism (by reporter Glenn Kessler in the "news" section, not the editorial page) seems to be that Bush doesn't understand who "the enemy" is in the Global War on Terror. Yet as the Post proceeds to knock what they perceive as Bush's simple minded rhetoric with today's news article they only reveal it is they, rather, that has no idea who our enemies are.
In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of "the enemy" that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.
The headline was "President's Portrayal of 'The Enemy' Often Flawed." The Post's conception of "flawed" is just as ill considered as they imagine the president's to be and their analysis adds up merely to mirror the conception held by many Europeans.
Once again, a National U.S. paper "arguably" chooses sides with Europe's interests over that of America.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released what it calls its Usual Weekly Earnings Report for the Fourth Quarter of 2006 on Friday.
This is one of the more important reports the BLS releases because:
It looks at the earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, excluding part-timers, business owners, and the self-employed.
It looks at individuals, not households or families.
Unlike most reports, it tells us median earnings, the point at which half of workers are earning more and half earning less. Other reports covering "average" results may be distorted by the impact of high earners bringing up the reported average while a "typical" person at the median might not be making any progress.
It specifically compares nominal earnings increases at the median (i.e., before inflation) to inflation that occurred during the same time period. It therefore tells us whether the "typical" (as opposed to "average") worker has gotten ahead or has fallen behind during the period covered.
So it was very heartening to read the first paragraph from Friday's Usual Weekly Earnings report:
Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 106.9 million full-time wage and salary workers were $682 in the fourth quarter of 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. This was 3.5 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.9 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period.
In a gratuitous insult to all intelligent Conservatives everywhere, Mr Kane has declared you all to be slobbering Neanderthals who would rather beat your enemy to death with a club than use diplomacy and that the law obviously means nothing to you.
Some speculate one reason "24" is such a favorite of the Bush crowd is that Bauer is presented as a guy with no qualms about torturing his prisoners in order to get information as quickly as possible. In light of criticism the Bush administration gets for its torture policies, it doesn't take a think-tank expert to see why some hail the show as a breath of clean air.
In an article Wednesday about organized labor's legislative goals for the 110th Congress, USA Today's Sue Kirchoff mischaracterizes a law that would move the union organizing process away from secret-ballot elections, and makes it sound like an improvement in representative government (bold is mine):
The AFL-CIO ..... is looking ahead to a second bill that sponsors call the "Employee Free Choice Act."
The bill would make it easier for unions to gain representation through an open process in which workers sign cards, in addition to secret ballot elections. Currently, the National Labor Relations Board oversees a secret ballot after a union or employer meets requirements to seek one. An employer can also recognize a union if a majority of workers sign authorizing cards.
No, of course the Democratic Party in Washington doesn't have a problem with the real or perceived masculinity of its male senators and congressmen.
Absolutely not. What in the world are you talking about?
You're all excited just because Maureen Dowd calls Barack Obama "Obambi," had to listen to him complain to her because she wrote that his ears are big (he's sennnnnnsitive about them, y'know), and told him that she's trying to "toughen him up."
Oh, and you still remember Al Gore bringing in Naomi Wolf in to help him during the early stages of his 2000 presidential campaign because:
..... he is a beta male, a subordinate figure, and must learn to become an alpha male, or leader of the pack, before the public can accept him as President .....
Your point is?
And I'll just bet you're going to try to make hay out of that Sunday New York Times Week in Review feature (requires registration) about the new Democratic Alpha Males:
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's law that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls is not too burdensome, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said Thursday in a 2-1 ruling that upholds the 2005 law.
..... The 7th U.S. Circuit Court questioned arguments that Indiana's rule is unfair to poor, elderly, minority and disabled voters, and pointed out that opponents could not find anyone unable to cast a ballot under the new law.
..... Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who pushed for the voter ID law, said the ruling was a victory for election reform.
"The seventh circuit affirmed what we have seen from four successful elections in Indiana under the photo ID law - this is a common-sense way to protect honest voters and to improve voter confidence," he said.
Judge Terence T. Evans dissented with the majority opinion, which affirms an earlier decision of U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker. Evans said there was no evidence of voter fraud in Indiana that could be avoided with the photo ID law.
"Let's not beat around the bush," Evans wrote. "The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."
The AP isn't the only one going ga-ga over the ascension of Nancy Pelosi to become the "first Female Speaker of the House". We are seeing the fawning on just about every news outlet out there. And it is, indeed, quite an historic change from the long line of gentlemen that have taken the Speaker's gavel.
One does not need to look much farther than the Newspapers in the USA to understand why we may lose this war against Islamist fascism and terrorism. At the very least, the Kansas City Star's Mary Sanchez displays her desire to condemn everything American and to make excuses for Muslim terrorists.
Using the "six imams expelled from an airplane" story as a springboard to wag a finger in the face of we ignorant Americans, Sanchez warns that we just don't get it where it concerns distinguishing between "Muslims who are a threat, and those who are not."
Naturally, it isn't the fault of any Muslim, either. No, it's all the fault of those uninformed American Christians.
The NY Times (HT Hot Air; scroll down, and look on left; direct link to pic is here; pic below is from my host's hard drive) has in a sense outdone CNN by giving Saddam the look of a charismatic, and from all appearances beloved, leader:
One suspects that this is just a warm-up for Castro when his time comes.
The Times may have taken it too far this time. I would think more than a few in the Manhattan wine-and-cheese set, even those who oppose the war, will be astute enough to substitute the name "Osama bin Laden" and his "orchestration of the 9/11 attacks" for "Saddam Hussein" and his "vile and unforgivable atrocities" in the Times' Friday editorial. Here are a couple of easy examples:
It is unfortunate that Nativity scene figures are the target of theft and vandals across this country each year during the Christmas holiday. As this ignorant crime increases from year to year, it shows the lack of respect that too many Americans have developed for their neighbors as well as a failed respect for private property.
Let's face it. The people who do such things are jerks. It's just that simple.
After giving space to Church goers reacting with outrage over these mean-spirited, and pointless thefts, Courant staff writer, Ken Byron pulls this sentence out from his "professional journalism" bag 'o tricks:
My pal Cam Edwards at NRANews.com forwarded an example of media incompetence followed by arrogance on the issue of the state of Ohio pre-empting local gun laws:
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reversed course on the issue of firearms pre-emption laws, writing an editorial in favor of pre-emption back in August and then slamming the idea a few weeks ago. Chad Baus, from Buckeye Firearms Association, had a lengthy and funny email exchange with the head of the editorial page. You can find the whole story here.
Baus found a clear case of an editorial writer who had not read the bill he was writing about, and an editorial page editor who refused to admit they hadn't read it.
I told you that watching the Dems' internecine battles was going to be fun. The slap the NY Times took at the Dem leadership today for backing away from its pledge to reform Congress as part of implementing the 9-11 panel recommendations was just an hors d'ouevre. In a column in today's Los Angeles Times, Arianna Huffington serves up a heaping main course, feasting on Hillary's foibles.
All you really need to know about how Huff feels about Hil is to have a look at the photo here from the LA Times that accompanies Arianna's column. But let's plunge on with these excerpts from Hillary's too vane to be president:
"While the country is urgently engaged in finding a way out of the quagmire in Iraq, Hillary Rodham Clinton is busy holding private dinners for key Democrats from primary states."
"A politician more comfortable following than leading."
In its zeal to undercut the presidential ambitions of its home-state governor, the Boston Globe engages in some blatant intellectual dishonesty this morning. Last week, the Globe breathlessly broke the story that a lawn care company that provides services to Mitt Romney has employees who are illegal immigrants. As the Globe archly put it: "as Governor Mitt Romney explores a presidential bid, he has grown outspoken in his criticism of illegal immigration. But, for a decade, the governor has used a landscaping company that relies heavily on . . . illegal Guatemalan immigrants." The Globe headlined its story: "Illegal immigrants toiled for governor." Toiled. Nice touch. Tote that rake, lift that lawnmower.
The Des Moines Register headline focuses on Barack Obama's enlistment of Iowa-savvy aides. But along the way, the article by Tom Beaumont, Obama talks with top advisers in Iowa, offers up some delightful Midwestern understatement.
First, in reviewing the potential Dem field, Beaumont writes of "Kerry, a Massachusetts senator." You can imagine him fuming: "Don't you know who I am? And why didn't you mention that I'm . . . a Vietnam veteran?"
With caution even more delicious, Beaumont notes "New York Sen. Hillary Clinton is believed to be weighing a campaign for the Democratic nomination." Indeed. And in tonight's Nature documentary, a ravenous crocodile
This past week saw The Washington Post ask a classically liberal question: Is America more racist or sexist?
Following the lead of this major paper, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked the same question, adding a surreptitious angle. She wondered, "Is the nation, secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
The "Good Morning America" host wasn’t through, however. On Tuesday, she offered the query again. This time, Sawyer added a new spin, "secret genderism." The recipient of the question, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, readily agreed. America is guilty, she asserted, it just isn’t "very secret."
Speaking of The Washington Post, ever wonder how many times the paper mentioned "macaca?" According to MRC President Brent Bozell, the paper featured the phrase no less then 112 times!
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann absurdly linked domestic terrorism to "right-wing blogs."
While Olbermann slimed conservatives, CNN labeled the current low gas prices "a recovery." Why, just a few weeks ago, the falling costs represented a link between "Big Oil" and the GOP. What a difference an election makes!
The Palm Beach Post today urged a Florida election official to move more strongly on the case of columnist Ann Coulter's alleged voting fraud. And the Post editorial criticized Coulter's behavior.
"Coulter, who specializes in tirades against Democrats and others whom she considers unpatriotic, voted in the wrong Palm Beach precinct during the town's February election," the editorial stated. "As a result, Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson had a chance to show the public that even celebrities aren't above the law. Instead, he has made a halfhearted attempt to turn the matter over to the state attorney's office.
Since I'm in the habit of recycling items from the Sixers blog today, NFL junkies will enjoy the latest news from the Austin American-Statesman that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees does not want to be seen as endorsing his mom's campaign for a Texas judge spot:
Drew Brees wants no part of his mother's political aspirations.
The NFL quarterback and Westlake High School graduate has told Mina Brees, an Austin attorney, to stop using his picture in TV commercials as she runs for a spot on Texas' 3rd Court of Appeals, saying their relationship is now "nonexistent" after souring six years ago.
Linda Greenhouse is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covers the United States Supreme Court for the New York Times. As we all know, the New York Times, along with the rest of the mainstream press, is adamant about their commitment to unbiased journalism. Reporters don't have opinions, at least not opinions that impact their journalism. It's nonsense, of course, but nonsense that's maintained by the likes of the Times.
Well, Linda Greenhouse, in a recent speech at her alma mater, Radcliffe, expressed some opinions. And if she really feels this way, there's absolutely no way that it could possibly not color her reporting. What she chooses to highlight, the way she expresses things, what she covers or doesn't cover, what she thinks is news and what isn't - that's all determined by her worldview.
Apparently responsibility isn't a subject that the Philadelphia Daily News is interested in propagating. In an irreverent piece called Freshmen alert: Beer is more complex than you think, writer Don Russell who bills himself as "Joe Sixpack", is advising students to dispense with all the worrying over all the "Alcohol is Evil' speech" stuff.
I have to question this attempt at "common man" humor when directed at people who are a tad less than the "men" (read adult) that such a pointed satire of an adult point of view might be more properly aimed. Should we really be minimalizing alcoholism and binge drinking in articles pointed at our college students who are already too prone to taking chances with their health, not to mention their schooling, already?
Most of the major American media had serious qualms about printing the Mohammed cartoons a while back. No major newspaper did as far as I can remember.
None of them seemed particularly outraged over a particularly vile cartoon by Wiley Miller, the creator of the syndicated strip Non Sequitur, which implied that Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia wants to enslave black Americans, and more specifically, his court colleague Clarence Thomas. (HT: Betsy Newmark)
If Davie Rossie's ramblings were simply those of one more angry liberal pundit, they'd hardly merit comment. What makes his utterances noteworthy is that when Rossie isn't churning out his once-a-week column, he is editing the news for the Gannett chain. Rossie is Associate Editor of Gannett's Binghamton paper, the Press & Sun Bulletin.
In today's column, 'Once There Were Giants in Television News', Rossie laments that they aren't making TV newsmen like Edward R. Murrow any more. With what might be condemned as sexism, nay, misogyny, had it been suggested by a conservative critic, Rossie grumps that "it's mostly ex-fashion models and Playboy Playmates pretending to understand the news they read to us on cable TV."
“From the beginning Spike Lee knew that Hurricane Katrina was a story he had to tell.”
That’s how The New York Times begins Agony of New Orleans, Through Spike Lee’s Eyes, on the director’s upcoming Katrina documentary. Times reporter Felicia R. Lee doesn’t tell readers of one of the reasons Lee was drawn to the story: he thinks the government may have deliberately flooded New Orleans.
That’s right. HBO wanted to make “the film of record” on America’s worst natural disaster, and entrusted the task to a man who thinks it may actually have been a government conspiracy. And it gave him $2 million to do it.
Could reporter Lee (no relation, I hope) simply have not been aware of director Lee’s conspiracy theories? They’re not hard to find. The director went on CNN and said: “I don't put anything past the United States government. I don't find it too far-fetched that they tried to displace all the black people out of New Orleans.”
The Tribune Company lost 62 percent of their earnings.
McClatchy kept earnings about the same though they lost almost 5 percent of their circulation.
Media General lost 47 percent from a year ago.
Gannett lost 8.3 percent.
Of course, none of the papers will admit that their bias and reportage are to blame for their problems. Instead it is all the fault of Internet activities, Craigslist, the uncooperative entertainment and auto industry, and a "weak operating environment." Leave it to journalists to blame even thier financial problems on the environment.
I would highly suggest any newspaper publishers wanting to save their papers take a tip from my recent Newsbusters post on the real problem.
Readers of these columns might have noticed that I occasionally include at the foot the fact that I live in 'the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY.' To give you a flavor for what I'm talking about, consider today's op-ed page in my hometown daily, the Ithaca Journal. The Journal is a Gannett newspaper. That's the chain [led by USA Today] that, as I've documented, chose as a news editor someonewho believes calling VP Cheney 'Satan' makes for the best commencement speech ever.
There have been many complaints about how our media reports the stories from Iraq. Countless articles have been written about the selective nature of reports from the field – focusing on the negative and completely ignoring the positive. Documents uncovered in Iraq have demonstrated how the insurgents use the American media for propaganda dissemination.
Now I have uncovered something even more shocking and disgusting. Our media is using pro al-Qaeda, pro Iraqi insurgency organizations as the basis for their reports – more importantly as sources of information that is damning to our soldiers.
While researching the claims of US soldiers raping a young Iraqi woman and then killing her and her family, I came across an article from Mafkarat al-Islam via Free Arab Voice. The article cites eyewitness testimony about the US rape and murder of the Iraqi family. According to Free Arab Voice, the report was filed on Saturday night at 11:55 Makkah time.
If Dave Rossie were simply a columnist, one might dismiss his sophomoric liberal rants as, well, sophomoric liberal rants. But what is disturbing is that when he's not pounding out his latest condemnation of all things Republican, the Gannett chain has seen fit to give Rossie the power to edit news at one of its papers, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. Not long ago, Rossie, finding the mere impeachment of Pres. Bush insufficient, called on the world to boycott the United States.
Rossie's latest opus concerns commencement addresses. After knocking administration officials for speaking at military institutions, and singling out VP Cheney for "defending the practice of spying on Americans via illegal wire taps," Rossie gave an example of a commencement speech of which he approved - heartily.
The Vice President of the Washington Post, Ben Bradlee, has the solution to the problem of MASSIVE declining newspaper circulation all figured out:
LEHRER: Do you think that the newspapers, faced with this decline in circulation, should reexamine what they're doing? BRADLEE: They're examining, reexamining it. Boy, that's topic A. Every, every paper you go to, they've just had a meeting and they're discussing what to do about falling circulation. And there's one word is the answer. LEHRER: What is it? BRADLEE: Stories. LEHRER: Stories? BRADLEE: Good stories. LEHRER: So, when you say stories, what stories are they not doing, kinds of stories that they're not doing? BRADLEE: Well, I mean, they're just well written stories, some story that makes you, you know, say I'll be damned, that's a good story.
Actually, the average newspaper story already makes me say "I'll be damned" but probably not for the reason Ben is talking about. Here's a suggestion for all you newspaper VP's. Why don't you get rid of the bias, the America-hating columnists, the socialist editorials, and the reporters pushing a gay/lesbian/transgendered/illegal alien/pro-abortion/anti-God/anti-gun agenda?
Ever thought of that in one of your falling circulation meetings? No. Probably not.