On Monday, the Insitute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability (IIFS), an outfit associated with the Civic Federation, a "nonpartisan" organization which appears to have leftist instincts and funding, warned that the state government's $8 billion stack of unpaid bills will grow to $22 billion in five years. IIFS correctly blames out of control pension costs, and recommends several reforms which don't seem to match the urgency of the situation.
One thing the report doesn't do, concerning which the press appears to be completely incurious, is estimate how long it will take vendors in President Barack Obama's Democrat-dominated home state to get paid if the backlog of unpaid bills really becomes that large. The answer, in brief, is: "so long that no one with a brain will want to do business with the state, likely causing its government to completely collapse."
Yesterday, the Department of Labor announced that it had certified "more than 18,000 former Hostess workers around the country as eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance." I'll save excerpts from DOL's inane announcement for after the jump.
The story has garnered some local coverage in areas affected by Hostess plant closures late last year, including a couple of regional Associated Press stories. But the AP, based on a search on "hostess," did not have a story at its national site as of 9 a.m. today, even though former Hostess workers in 48 states are affected. Additionally, virtually every story found in a Google News search on "Hostess trade adjustment" (not in quotes) is local in nature. Could this possibly be because doling out tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to workers whose unions thought the company was bluffing when it said it would throw in the towel without acceptable labor contracts is more than a little embarrassing, especially when President Barack Obama is simultaneously claiming that the federal government will have no choice but to lay off and furlough employees if sequestration takes place?
A search this morning at Google News on "Liverpool Pathway" (not in quotes) returned 69 items (Google's initial indication was over 800, but it was really only 69). Roughly 60 of them related to the National Health Service's "palliative care" protocols known as the "Liverpool Care Pathway" employed in the UK's government-run health care system to place hospital patients on a path to death. The latest news about the pathway has drawn the attention of a few prolife blogs in the U.S., but almost no attention from U.S. establishment press sources.
That's stunnning, given both the seriousness of the news about the pathway's real-world effects, and the reactions of those who insist that it's still a great thing in their brave new healthcare world. A UK Daily mail item on December 30 summarized the extent of the horror in three succinct sentences (bolds are mine throughout this post):
In 2008, as reported by Tim Graham at NewsBusters at the time, Thomas Friedman at the New York Times wrote that America ought to become "China for a day," so that Friedman's dream, in Graham's words "of a green revolution -- all those allegedly planet-saving taxes and regulations and product bans -- can be permanently enacted."
The mainland's totalitarian regime isn't merely not "green" in any meaningful sense. It also is often remarkably unconcerned about the health and well-being of its subjects. For example, a recent chemical spillp poisoned the water of millions (that's right, millions), and the government didn't bother telling anyone about it for almost a week. The story has received almost zero attention in the U.S. press. Excerpts from a January 7 story at the UK's Financial Times follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Wednesday, as President Obama signed -- er, auto-penned -- the legislation preventing the onset of the "fiscal cliff" passed by Congress the previous day, the establishment press was busy understating its impact. A Friday evening Wall Street Journal editorial (note: not a regular news report) in today's print edition lays out the gory details.
But first, I will cite four examples of coverage which pretended that 99 percent of Americans won't see their income taxes increase in 2013.
I'm almost surprised that the Politico's web site background isn't all black because of news delivered by its "On Media" reporter Dylan Byers on Tuesday.
The "bad" news is that "gun control" as a media obsession appears to have largely disappeared, especially when you consider that some of the primary remaining stories on the topic are about David Gregory's illegal but unprosecuted (as of yet) brandishing of a magazine on Meet the Press, a New York newspaper's publication of an interactive map of two counties' pistol permit dwellers, and said newspaper either feeling threatened or pushing for more publicity (my bet is on the latter) by hiring armed guards to protect its headquarters and staff from outraged readers. Here's part of Byers's narrative (charts are at the link; bolds are mine):
This is the eighth year I have done shopping and layoff-related searches on how often the words "Christmas" and "holiday" are used.
As has been the case since the enterprise began in 2005, news reports are far more likely to refer to the commercial time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the "holiday shopping season." Meanwhile, compared to shopping references, news reports are several times more likely to refer to Christmas in connection with layoffs. This years raw results -- originally gathered here, here, and here at my home blog, along with comparisons to previous years -- follow the jump:
In his Sunday appearance on "Meet the Press" (HT The Blaze), New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg answered host David Gregory's first question relating to the Sandy Hook massacre by saying that "It's so unbelievable, and it only happens in America." That statement is so obviously false that I would have expected even a Bloomberg- and gun control-sympathetic press, including Gregory himself, to point out how wrong that statement is. Nope: A search on Bloomberg's name at the Associated Press at 1:45 p.m. returned four relevant articles containing Bloomberg's name; none reports that statement, let alone its erroneous nature.
Further, a Google News search on [Bloomberg "only happens in America"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets; sorted by date) returned 42 items, most of which were versions of a short, unbylined AP Sunday report containing the incorrect Bloomberg assertion. The AP clearly made it disappear in subsequent national site dispatches without identifying the statement's falsehood. To its credit, AP did issue a correction to an earlier "worst in U.S. history" statement in a different report:
If certain aspects of stories relating to an incident of gun violence don't fit the template, they usually doesn't get reported at all. But if such things somehow get some local exposure, they rarely escape into the broader national news environment. What follows is an example of the latter.
The UK's National Health Service has been around since the late 1940s. Despite over 60 years of trying to get health care right, it still doesn't come anywhere close. This long-term failure has done nothing to deter the Obama administration and Democrats from attempting to replicate the horror here in the U.S.
The latest example of scandlous neglect comes from a Labor MP, carried in the usually left-leaning UK Guardian and many other British news outlets. Readers can count on it not being noticed by the U.S. press (HT Samizdat via Instapundit). The second-last paragraph in the excerpt following the jump seems to give away a feeling by the dead victim's wife that she's somehow betraying her statist brothers and sisters by speaking out:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its latest report on food stamp program participation through September today. I received the email alerting me to the release at 5:17 p.m., so it seems reasonable to believe that USDA and the Barack Obama administration wanted the new data to get as little attention as possible (as will be seen later, it's currently getting none). If so, they have two probable reasons for wishing to minimize its impact.
The first and more obvious of the two is that the food stamp rolls increased by over 607,000 in September to 47.71 million, yet another all-time record. That's awful enough, but here's the real kicker: the participation figure for July, the last month of data available before Election Day, was revised up by over 150,000, changing that month's reported increase from 11,600 to just under 166,000. As will be seen after the jump, no other month's data was revised except August, where the changes were infinitesimal.
Just before Thanksgiving, the leftist think tank Demos issued a report by its own Catherine Ruetschlin advocating a $12 an hour minimum wage (stated as $25,000 per year by her) for those who work full-time in retail.
What's interesting about Ruetschlin's suggestion is that there is a retailer out there which is actually doing that and more -- and it's not Costco, which "pays starting employees at least $10 an hour." To be fair to Costco, rapid wage advancement is apparently quite common there, but that's off-topic. Perhaps surprising to the press, the company involved starts its full-time employees not at $12 an hour, but at $13. Perhaps if it spent less time trying to figure how to discredit this company, the establishment media might instead focus on how this company is able to be profitable under such a wage structure. Before identifying the firm after the jump, we'll first see in an open letter from its CEO why it's not getting favorable press attention (in full; bolds are mine):
The annual winter conference of the Democracy Alliance is getting almost no press attention. The alliance "was created to build progressive infrastructure," and promotes a "collaborative giving strategy." Membership is invitation-only. Its board includes Mary Kay Henry, who "serves as International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)." The meeting is in essence a planning session for the funding of "progressive" candidates, their supposedly unrelated Super-PACs, and other causes.
This morning, Matthew Continetti at the Washington Free Beacon called out the press hypocrisy in virtually ignoring this event. A 10 a.m. ET Google News search on "Democracy Alliance" (in quotes) returned only a half-dozen post-Thanksgiving items. Among major outlets, only the Politico, as seen at NJ.com (written by Kenneth Vogel, but not noted there), has given the meeting any attention. Continetti noted that coverage, and the complete lack of any other attention which accompanied it (HT Instapundit; bolds are mine):
As has so often been the case for nearly four years, one needs to go to the editorial pages of the nation's two leading financial publications, the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily, to get to the truth behind news developments, especially the ones with potential to cast the Obama administration in a bad light.
There may not be a better example of the press ignoring the obvious than the circumstances surrounding Mohammed Morsi's dictatorial power grab in Egypt. Morsi gained substantial perceived world standing when the U.S. government praised him lavishly (or is it slavishly?) for his involvement in brokering a truce of sorts in the Israel-Hamas conflict. As a Friday IBD editorial pointed out, Morsi is now "using America's stamp of approval to oppress his own people" (bolds are mine throughout this post):
This is the eighth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics: The use of "Christmas shopping season" vs. "holiday shopping season," and the frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.
I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year -- the first in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later. I will wait until just after Christmas to relay the full results, but feel compelled to note the following relating to today's "shopping season" searches, namely that the proportion containing "Christmas" came in at the lowest I've ever seen.
It's hard to find a benchmark against which to compare remarks delivered by Vice President Joe Biden, but here's one from a past administration. In June 2004, Bush 43 Vice President Dick Cheney was greeted on the Senate Floor at the annual Senate photo op by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. Leahy had previously been flogging the left's phantasm over alleged "profiteering" by Halliburton, the company at which Cheney had served as Chairman and CEO from 1995-2000. At the end of a testy exchange, Cheney either said "(F-word) you" or "(F-word) yourself."
In his weekly radio address on July 3, 2010, President Barack Obama announced that "the Department of Energy is awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments from the Recovery Act to two solar companies." Neither of them was named Solyndra.
One of the two companies Obama did name was Fort Collins, Colorado-based Abound Solar, which Obama touted as a company which would create "more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs" at two new plants which "When fully operational ... will produce millions of state-of-the-art solar panels each year." As Amy Oliver detailed at Townhall a year ago, Abound is a classic case of Obama bundler cronyism. In July, just shy of two years after Obama's address, the company, which benefited from $400 million of Department of Energy loan guarantees, filed for bankruptcy. Yesterday, a Colorado District Attorney announced a criminal investigation. So far, it's only local Colorado-area news (internal links added by me; bolds are mine):
As the presidential contest enters its final weeks, one loser is clear: the Big Three television networks' evening newscasts, home of some of the worst examples of ongoing and still influential media bias.
Chris Ariens at Media Bistro noted this on October 2 in covering the results for the week of September 24: "Leading into a presidential election, one might think the tune-in to the evening news programs would increase. But one would be wrong." The trend continued during the following week, as will be seen in the graphic following the jump.
Monday's Washington Post highlighted the gay-left Obama supporters at the Human Rights Campaign had their national dinner on Saturday night and honored actress Sally Field. "This was a rich, powerful, savvy crowd, ponying up $400K during the 30-minute live auction to buy commercial time this month in key election states." HRC is fighting defense-of-marriage ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state.
The Post account did not report that media companies have taken their liberal side in sponsoring the event. Comcast/NBC Universal was a “Gold Sponsor” of the dinner and Facebook was a “Bronze Sponsor.” Google is a national "corporate partner" of HRC's. Right now, the top of the HRC website advertises the stars of ABC's Modern Family will do an Obama-campaign-style "Modern Family Dinner Date" drawing to raise money for this group. (video below)
An Associated Press report by Helen O'Neill time-stamped Saturday afternoon claims that "a record number of deportations means record numbers of American children being left without a parent — despite President Barack Obama's promise that his administration would focus on removing only criminals."
Perhaps the assertion about more parents being forced to leave their kids behind is true. But the "record number of deportations" meme -- a recurring Obama administration claim frequently parroted by the press, despite Obama's other unilateral moves towards de facto amnesty -- is apparently a load of rubbish, based on a review of detailed records by the House Judiciary Committee noted by the Daily Caller's Caroline May on Saturday morning (bolds are mine):
Obama campaign spokesperson Stepanie Cutter, appearing on MSNBC earlier this week, claimed that "over the past, you know, 27 months we've created 4.5 million private-sector jobs. That's more jobs than in the Bush recovery (or) in the Reagan recovery."
A Thursday Investor's Business Daily editorial plaintively asked: "Where are those allegedly unbiased fact-checkers when you need them?" As will be seen shortly, the answer is "AWOL."
About a month ago, I joked in a column published elsewhere that the reason a certain New York Times column didn't resonate with anyone is because no one pays attention to the Old Gray Lady any more.
Unfortunately, that's not true. But the fact that almost no other establishment press outlet has mentioned the paper's disclosure late Wednesday (appearing in Thursday's print edition) that former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine and others at the bankrupt firm likely won't face criminal prosecution in the firm's crack-up, which featured raiding individual customers' accounts to the tune of $1.6 billion, seems to indicate that the Times has become a favored holding cell for stories detrimental to Democrats which will otherwise be ignored. Oh, and contrary to the belief expressed in a very long Vanity Fair item in February, when Corzine was seen to be in "a scandal he can’t survive," and that "his career is likely finished," the man is seriously considering starting up a new hedge fund.
Since Mitt Romney is supposedly responsible for the death from cancer of a woman who died in 2006, seven years after the presumptive GOP nominee left Bain Capital, it seems more than fair to talk about what has resulted from the Obama administration's blatant favoritism towards UAW members while shafting former Delphi salaried workers.
Tonight, the Associated Press's Adwatch entry by Stephen Braun actually calls out the Obama super-PAC Priorities USA, specifically saying that the assertion by Joe Soptic, the woman's widower, "that Romney bears some blame in his wife's death is not backed up factually in the ad." Fair enough, but, especially because it was in the news today, let's look at the Delphi situation.
This one of the most obvious "if the shoe were on the other foot" items I've seen in some time.
If a Republican or conservative presidential candidate's campaign ever dared to suggest that supporters register their wedding, graduation, or other event so they could then ask friends and family to make donations to the candidate's election efforts in lieu of a gift, the ridicule wouldn't stop for the next year -- and, I should add, deservedly so. But the Obama Event Registry (Obama-Biden blog post here; HT Weasel Zippers), which has been out there for about 48 hours, has barely made an establishment press ripple. What follows is a graphic from the blog post, followed by its first four outraged comments, showing that the idea is not getting a warm, uh, reception.
The count of prominent Democratic Party politicians who have decided not to attend the Democratic Party's convention in Charlotte, thereby attempting to avoid direct association with the formal renomination of incumbent President Barack Obama, is up to seven. Press coverage has been sparse. One can only imagine how much media end-zone dancing there would have been in 2004 had one governor, one senator and five congresspersons chosen not to attend the Republican National Convention to renominate George W. Bush.
On Thursday, the Hill had the story about the latest declared non-attendee, who admittedly is the least surprising addition to list (internal links are in original):
Hours after New York blogger Christian Browne wrote on his blog, “The New York Conservative,” that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be quickly executed, Google shut down his blog, which was hosted on Google's free Blogger service.
While the blog – including the post that appears to have triggered its deletion – have since been restored, the circumstances of its deletion by Google remain murky – and raise a serious issue both for Google and for conservatives who use the web to spread conservative ideas and messages.
The Department of (I don't know what kind of) Justice has decided to drop its case again prolife sidewalk counselor Mary Susan Pine and pay her $120,000 in legal fees. DOJ had no case in the first place.
For the umpteenth time, news unfavorable or embarrassing to the left comes from the UK instead of the USA.
In this instance, it was an unbylined item in Saturday's Daily Mail. For years, Oregon University Sociology and environmental studies professor Kari Norgaard has been spewing forth bigoted characterizations of anyone who dares not surrender to the gospel of global warming. But her bizarre outlook didn't get meaningful notice from the press all these years until she presented her, uh, work at the annual four-day ‘Planet Under Pressure’ international conference in London. Here is some of what the Daily Mail found, and which Rush Limbaugh for all practical purposes broke in the U.S. media. I hear echoes of the former Soviet Union's serial abuse of psychiatry just around the bend (bolds are mine throughout this post):
If Scott Walker somehow loses his recall election in Wisconsin, will that be national news? Of course it will.
Well, if the Walker recall really is a national story, why isn't it news that 29 judges who are supposed to be impartial in their rulings and who are under strict prohibitions against political activity were found by Gannett News to have signed petitions supporting Walker's recall -- including at least one who has ruled in a recall-related matter without bothering to disclose his action? Make such a story about Republican judges signing petitions to recall a Democratic governor, and it would be national news for sure. Here are several paragraphs from Eric Litke's report:
Maybe it's due to budget cutbacks at major establishment news sources, but I doubt it. Maybe it's because they believe nobody cares about news out of the Middle East. No, that can't be it. Or maybe it's because they think that people already know and understand the Muslim mindset. Well, after several decades of press attempts to keep it from us, that doesn't make any sense either.
Whatever the reason(s), which I'll get to, a certain piece of what one would think is pretty significant news out of the Middle East has gone unreported for the past five days going on six. What follows are three translations of related articles through Google's translation tool (which eliminates the budget excuse of "We need interpreters to translate these things from scratch, and don't have the money"):