In a December 27 blog post, New York Times columnist and incurable Keynesian economist Paul Krugman capitalized on the problems United Parcel Service and to a lesser extent Fedex had in delivering Christmas packages on time: "Can’t the private sector do anything right?"
While I recognize that there's sarcasm in his question, Krugman then went on to try to make HealthCare.gov's problems appear analogous: "[M]any pundits were quick to declare healthcare.gov’s problems evidence of the fundamental, irretrievable incompetence of government, and as an omen of Obamacare’s inevitable collapse. ... (But) none of these people are making similar claims about UPS or Amazon." Since the Nobel Economics laureate appears to be too dense to understand the differences between the two situations, Robert P. Murphy, "the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism," explained many of them in a Sunday post at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada's web site (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Bloomberg Businessweek and others are trying to capitalize on the difficulties United Parcel Service and to a lesser extent Fedex had in delivering packages in time for Christmas to claim that the U.S. Postal Service is coming out of it smelling like a rose ("An Unlikely Star of the Holiday-Shipping Season: The U.S. Postal Service").
Not so fast, people. Let's be extremely generous and take it as a given that the Post Office didn't have any late arrivals, and that it deserves props for delivering 75,000 packages on Christmas Day. It's hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison, but based on the quoted number of packages UPS planned to deliver on Christmas Eve, the private company's package volume, particularly its air package volume, dwarfs that of the Post Office, and would overwhelm it if it tried to pull off what UPS routinely does:
Remember when George W. Bush was intensely criticized in 2004 for using a couple of seconds of footage from the World Trade Center attacks in a campaign commercial? He was "exploiting" 9/11. Let's talk about an example of really crass exploitation which the press has largely ignored.
As reported by Politico's Joseph Delreal, recently elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter Chiara recently opened up "about her struggles with depression and substance abuse and for her decision to seek treatment." White House National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, "in a statement issued by the White House," praised "her and the entire de Blasio family for addressing this important public health issue." Fair enough. But he went one step further, as seen after the jump:
Leave it to the Daily Beast's Dean Obeidallah to lay out a false dilemma supposedly facing the National Collegiate Athletic Association while simultaneously resurrecting at the end of 2013 a left-wing bogeyman that is so 2012.
"The NCAA is facing a momentous decision in 2014: Will it stop partnering with Chick-fil-A—or revise its bylaws so it can support discrimination against gay Americans?" Obeidallah asked in the open of his December 27 post "The NCAA’s Big Gay Choice: Chick-fil-A or Equality?"
Their stated excuse is, "These could never happen here, so why should U.S. news consumers care?" Their real excuse is, "We don't want anyone thinking that Obamacare could lead to this, even though there are already plenty of signs that it will."
Two weeks ago, the UK Daily Mail reported on three just-released "damming reports" on Great Britain's government-run National Health Service. A separate December 20 UK Telegraph dispatch reports that the NHS is "on the brink of crisis" because it has been "treated as a 'national religion' while millions of patients receive a 'wholly unsatisfactory' service from GPs and hospitals." A scroll through supposedly U.S.-based news results from December 11-26 in a search on "national health service" (in quotes" at Google News returns precious little actual coverage here; the few exceptions are at conservative-leaning outlets like Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog. Excerpts from both UK items just noted follow the jump.
Major establishment press outlets ignored Friday's news that "Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ... explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO), but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer also "refused to put her name on a letter recommending a temporary ATO be granted for six months" In other words, HealthCare.gov should not have launched.
Brian Fung at the Washington Post's "The Switch" blog didn't consider the idea that HC.gov shouldn't even have gone live the most important story element. While failing to disclose Fryer's no-go recommendation and refusal to go along, he and his post's headline instead obsessed over whether Republican Congressman and House Oversight Committee chair Darrell Issa might "release files" that "could aid hackers." It wouldn't be a surprise to learn that hackers already have them, or at least have figured out how to work with or around them. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Concerning the Christmas shopping season, the Associated Press's Anne D'Innocenzio and CNBC's Krystina Gustafson agree: It has stunk.
D'Innocenzio noted that "sales at stores have fallen for the third consecutive week as Americans continue to hold back on spending during what is traditionally the busiest buying period of the year." Gustafson, apparently looking over the same ShopperTrak data as D'Innocenzio, added that "store traffic in the final week before Christmas posted the third straight week of double-digit declines." Neither noted that combination of much lower traffic and relatively slight sales declines appears to indicate that the well-off are splurging, while many families of average means are AWOL. Though it's hard to see how, the keepers of Christmas data at ShopperTrak the National Retail Federation and the International Council of Shopping Centers still believe they will end up in meaningfully positive territory when all is said and done.
Kelsey Snell "is a tax reporter at POLITICO Pro." Her output in a column entitled "Indiana lures 'Illinoyed' biz with tax breaks" makes one wonder how she arrived at her current position.
Snell's piece is riddled with striking omissions and lame progressive talking points. But the most jaw-dropping element in her report is her clear inability to detect erroneous numbers which she and her employer should know make no sense.
Attempting to build his national profile, Al Sharpton "took up residence on the West Side (of Chicago) in November and began hosting ... (weekly) town halls as part of an effort to find solutions to the city’s outsize homicide rate among young black males."
Rebel Pundit at Breitbart News reports that a Thursday meeting in the city's Hyde Park area not far from President Obama's Chicago home didn't exactly turn out the way Sharpton would have liked. There was even talk of having "Tea Party" meetings "like Republicans do." Sharpton doesn't need to worry too much, though, because Chicago's establishment press has ignored what happened. Shamefully, so have a couple of smaller publications which apparently prefer bland misdirection over substantive reporting. Excerpts from the Breitbart report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Friday morning, CBS News's Sharyl Attkisson reported that Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), "told Congress there have been two, serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch." Further, Fryer "told congressional interviewers that she explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO)" in late September, "but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer's statements make sworn assertions by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that "no senior official reporting to me ever advised me that we should delay" at best difficult to believe.
While the press properly devotes attention to serious security breaches at leading retailer Target, the arguably more serious problems at HealthCare.gov continue to get scant attention. Searches on Fryer's name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press, the New York Times, and Politico all return nothing relevant. Excerpts from Attkisson's startling, read-the-whole-thing report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Barack Obama gets to jet around on Air Force One, golfs every once in a while (/sarc), and has all the trappings and perks of the highest office in the land. But according to a headline in Monday's Washington Post, he is the one person in the whole USA above everyone else — not those who have lost health insurance plans with which they were happy, not those who are paying outrageious amounts for far skimpier coverage than they formerly had, not the millions of potential workers so discouraged that they are no longer looking for work or considered to be workers, not the increasing ranks of the homeless — who has taken it on the chin this year (bolds are mine throughout this post):
'Tis the season for the liberal media to ramp up it's attacks on the Catholic Church.
"One in nine hospital beds is now in a Catholic institution. That may be bad news for pregnant women," reads the caption on the front-page tease for a December 19 Irin Carmon story, "What Catholic hospital expansion means for women," wherein the abortion-rights absolutist turns the network's "war on women" artillery on Church-run hospitals. Here's how Carmon opened her story (emphasis mine):
While many in the liberal media are cheering A&E's decision to suspend Phil Robertson from further filming of the network's Duck Dynasty reality show, MSNBC's Thomas Roberts suggested that the move by the network may not be "enough."
In a Facebook post, the openly gay MSNBC Live host posed to his fans the "big question" of the day (screen capture below page break):
Earlier today, Matt Hadro at NewsBusters refuted a ridiculous assertion Tuesday evening by CNN's Don Lemon who, in reaction to guest Larry Klayman's criticism, insisted that he is not "a big supporter of Obama" or an "ultra leftist." Horse manure, Don.
Lemon and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin also acted like immature children in Klayman's presence. They were clearly mortified that — ugh — Larry Klayman had to be the guy who brought suit against the National Security Administration arguing against the constitutionality of its metadata collection efforts. Apparently even worse for Lemon and Toobin, Klayman won a tentative legal victory when a judge ruled that NSA's "bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is likely unconstitutional." Tal Kopan recounted Klayman's CNN appearance early this morning at the Politico:
"Was Santorum Right About Polygamy?" asked a teaser headline on the Daily Beast's website this morning. "The Republican was once savaged for suggesting polygamy could become legal if the Supreme Court killed anti-sodomy laws. Now a judge has ruled against Utah's anti-polygamy statute," noted the teaser caption.
In the story itself, Daily Beast staffer Justin Miller answered the question in the negative, but did note that the court ruling in question did draw from the Supreme Court sodomy law case Lawrence v. Texas and that there's a strong political validation to the slippery slope argument from developments like these (emphases mine):
Earlier this morning, Joe Newby at NewsBusters posted on the Denver Post's scrubbing of the word "socialist" from a fellow student's description of Karl Pierson, who police say shot two other students and then took his own life at Arapahoe High School on Friday. The Post story originally said that classmate Thomas Conrad described him as "a very opinionated Socialist." Sometime later, the Post watered the description down to "very opinionated" without telling readers what it had done.
In mid-November, Americans for Tax Reform compiled a list of federal spending on state Obamacare exchanges totaling a breathtaking $4.5 billion.
One number on the list stands out from the rest — and it's not California's, though its $910 million amout is awful, disproportionate, and surely highly wasteful (before considering scalability concerns, the fixed costs of building a web site should be close to the same regardless of a state's population). The big eye-catcher is tiny Vermont's staggering $208 million. The nation's second-least populous state (626,000 as of 2012) has 0.2 percent of the U.S. population, but has received 4.6 percent of grants from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Though the Green Mountain State's enrollment numbers have been among the country's least embarrassing on percentage of the population, its exchange's rollout has in many ways been as bad, if not worse, than HealthCare.gov's, according to a December 10 Vermont Public Radio report which has garnered very little attention (HT Megan McArdle at Bloomberg News; bolds are mine):
But somehow, the fact that the state's Obamacare exchange, Access Health CT, "had incorrect information online about deductibles and co-insurance impacting all 19 individual health plans from the three insurance companies that offer those plans" doesn't merit attention. Further indicating the development's national significance, as David Steinberg at PJ Media has noted, President Barack Obama himself cited Access Health CT as a success story in supposedly getting one-third of its enrollees from people who are 35 and younger (also not true) back on October 21. More verbiage from the story, as reported in the Hartford Courant by Fox Connecticut's Louisa Moller, follows the jump:
Earlier this week, NBC Sports announced that "Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Posner (also frequently spelled "Pozner") will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games."
To call Posner's background "problematic" is like saying that Bob Filner, former Democratic Mayor of San Diego, has a bit of a problem with how he treats members of the opposite sex. Posner is an old hand at defending and dissembling the worst excesses of the Soviet Union, including but not limited to the following exchange from 1980 cited by Lisa de Moraes at Deadline.com on Wednesday (bolds are mine throughout this post):
His book The Liberty Amendments made the New York Times bestseller list for weeks, and radio host Mark Levin has repeatedly discussed his proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution via a state legislature-called convention on his nationally syndicated program. But to the folks at Slate, the push to make Levin's call for an Article V amendment convention a reality is a "secretive campaign" to "rewrite the Constitution."
Slate writers David Weigel and Emma Roller set out on Tuesday to derisively dismiss the efforts of scores of state legislators meeting at Mount Vernon to discuss how to move forward in their respective state legislatures to push for such a convention (see Slate screen captures below the break; emphases mine):
The due diligence at the intractably liberal Huffington Post is apparently far, far less than perfect.
The following correction currently appears at a HuffPo puff piece (HT Twitchy) by Hillary Miller about actor Bill Murray and actress Emma Stone paying a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Hawaii: "CORRECTION: A previous version of this article referred incorrectly to Hawaii as an independent country." The original text, as carried at another web site, follows the jump:
Alan Gross, political prisoner. Those were four words missing from Emma Margolin's December 10 MSNBC.com story hailing the handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro earlier today at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Soweto, South Africa. Gross, a State Department contractor, has been languishing in a Cuban prison for five years.
There was a reference to "genocide" in the story, but that was from a quote from a Cuban official railing against the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba (emphasis mine):
On Monday, Terry Mattingly of GetReligion blog revealed a glaring error made by Time magazine in its online poll of readers about who should be their Person of the Year. The magazine had to issue the following correction regarding its one-sentence description of Pope Francis: "An earlier version of this post suggested that Pope Francis rejected some church dogma. He does not."
Whoever made this correction didn't give a completely accurate portrayal of the original post, as it didn't use this "some" qualifier: [screen cap below the jump, via Mattingly's Google cache link]
This morning, Bob Filner (D) was sentenced to "90 days home confinement as punishment for three criminal charges connected to the sexual harassment scandal that ended his term as San Diego mayor," according to NBCSanDiego.com staffers Monica Garske and R. Stickney, who failed to mention Filner's Democratic Party affiliation in their story.
But Garske and Stickney are not alone among their peers in omitting Filner's party affiliation. Besides NBCNews.com -- which linked to the aforementioned NBC San Diego story -- ABCNews.com, and CNN.com all similarly left out reference to the California Democrat's party allegiance. CBSNews.com and FoxNews.com ran an Associated Press story which mentioned Filner's political persuasion in the final paragraph. MSNBC.com also omitted the Democratic label from their story, although, curiously, the story was filed under a "Democrats" topic tag (see screen capture below):
On Friday morning, Richard Pollock at the Washington Examiner (HT Ed Driscoll at PJ Media) broke an important story about the the large number of doctors choosing not to participate in Covered California, the state's Obamacare exchange.
The odds that the agenda-driven press in the formerly Golden State of California was already aware of this problem and chose not to report on it would seem to be pretty high — and they're still ignoring the story, despite its obvious impact on the availability of medical services once Obamacare kicks in on January 1. Excerpts from Pollock's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The media's determination to pin anything negative on Texas Senator Ted Cruz apparently knows no bounds.
Even as the establishment press, with Politico's Reid Epstein being one of the more recent examples, attempts to give President Obama the Mother of All Free Passes for the disastrous rollouts of HealthCare.gov and Obamacare in general, Cruz, currently perceived as a strong 2016 presidential prospect, somehow deserves to be associated with comments left at his Facebook post on Nelson Mandela's death. At least that's what Anneta Konstantinides at ABC's "The Note" seems to want readers to believe; otherwise, why would she engage in the effort at all? Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine; HT Twitchy):
The ongoing effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the negative consequences of his "signature achievement," not only with the HealthCare.gov web site but also his false "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" guarantees, is a sickening sight to behold.
Reid Epstein at the Politico contributed one small chapter in that exercise. He decided to "report" on the portion of the President's interview with MSNBC sycophant Chris Matthews (some related NewsBusters posts are here, here, and here) concerning whether Obama's "management style" contributed to "problems with the Obamacare rollout." The predictable answers: Of course not, he doesn't need to change anything, and there's no reason why a reporter should even be the least bit skeptical. Oh, and it's really all Congress's fault (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In his December 4 story, "A bogus health care website, courtesy of the GOP," MSNBC.com's Geoffrey Cowley essentially compared a California Republican website which denounces ObamaCare to the numerous fraudulent scam sites cropping up which claim to sell health insurance but are ripping unsuspecting consumers off.
Cowley also seemingly lamented the inability of California officials to shut down the site, CoveringHealthCareCA.com, which he charged was a nefarious GOP plot to "undermine Obamacare" by "divert[ing] people" who were "looking for the [state] exchange site" (emphasis mine):
Seung Min Kim and Jennifer Haberkorn at the Politico have apparently been living in hermetically sealed Beltway caves since early October.
In an item which appeared Tuesday evening, the pair acted as if the idea that Americans stand a great chance of losing access to their current doctors and other medical providers as a result of signing up for a health care plan through the Obamacare exchange is something brand new. Kim and Haberkorn write that Republican opponents of Obamacare are going to have to "replicate the uproar" which occurred with "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan," when the uproar has been building for weeks, based on numerous stories involving real people (bolds and numbered tags are mine):