Not content with casting doubt on charges made by New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran, Republican of Queens, of a union-authorized work slowdown during the infamous blizzard that hit Manhattan the day after Christmas, New York Times reporters Russ Buettner and William Rashbaum dove into his personal finances to discredit him in Wednesday’s “Evidence Is Elusive on Charge Of a Blizzard Work Slowdown.”
Given the importance the Times evidently places on the financial situation of the wives of its subjects, one wonders about the paper's casual attitude when one of its own economics reporters, Edmund Andrews, wrote “Busted,” a May 2009 book about his own personal mortgage crisis that denounced greedy banks, yet left out his wife's previous two bankruptcies.
The story rocketed around New York City when streets went uncleared after the Dec. 26 blizzard: Sanitation workers, angry about job reductions, had deliberately staged a work slowdown.
It resulted in wisecracks on “Saturday Night Live,” fiery denunciations of unions on cable news and four criminal investigations.
And it occurred because one man, Councilman Daniel J. Halloran, Republican of Queens, said five city workers had come to his office during the storm and told him they had been explicitly ordered to take part in a slowdown to embarrass Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
From the same organization that gave us the ‘lives touched’ method for calculating stimulus job creation, the Department of Energy (DOE) has now stumbled upon a whole new way to increase employment.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced that they are investigating ‘an uncontrolled spread of radioactive material’ at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Niskayuna, New York. Elevated radiation levels have been confirmed in the air surrounding the site, as well as the Mohawk River which was deluged with over 600 gallons of radioactive water. The radiation stemmed from an incident in late September when workers attempted to take down a building – building H2 - at the site.
Worse, the DOE failed to notify local officials of the spill, leaving those who rely on their water supply from the Mohawk completely oblivious to the potential health and safety issues.
The Albany Times Union obtained a copy of a report filed by investigators for the DOE, which cited “an atmosphere of fear among the work force not to speak up about issues of concern”. The report reveals the main reason that workers for the Washington Group International (WGI), a private company contracted to clean up the Cold War-era facility, felt pressured to ignore safety issues:
The company was pushing to finish work three months earlier than first planned -- by September 2011 rather than December 2011 -- in order to receive an extra $32 million in federal stimulus funding awarded for the cleanup in April 2009.
To the national establishment press, this appears to be another one of those "It's at the Politico, so we can ignore it" incidents.
Thursday night, before a debate with GOP opponent George Phillips, nine-term New York Democratic Congressman Maurice Hinchey "had a heated exchange with a local reporter ... that became physical." Quite physical, in fact, to the point where Hinchey "pushed ... (the reporter) backwards into Phillips himself."
Seems like pretty big news, doesn't it? Not based on the results of a Google News search on "Hinchey debate" (not in quotes) done at 8:30 this morning:
Well fancy that: The New York Times has learned what Times Watch has been pointing out for weeks: Not even New Yorkers want a large mosque built two blocks from the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
New York City residents were previously praised by Times reporters like Sheryl Gay Stolberg as better informed and thus more tolerant of the idea of a mosque at Ground Zero than ignorant outsiders.
But a New York Times poll conducted last week showed that New Yorkers don't like the idea of building a mosque near the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks anymore than the rest of the country. In fact, New York City residents (that includes Manhattan and the outer boroughs) oppose it by a 50%-35% margin. Yes, the nationwide opposition to the construction, twice declaimed as a "nativist impulse" by the paper's main political writer Matt Bai, has infected even the tolerant, sophisticated liberals of Manhattan.
Building its story around the poll, reporters Michael Barbaro and Marjorie Connelly reported on last Friday's front page: "New Yorkers Divided Over Islamic Center, Poll Finds." (Actually New Yorkers are more than merely divided but are mostly opposed to the mosque being built near Ground Zero.)
Two-thirds of New York City residents want a planned Muslim community center and mosque to be relocated to a less controversial site farther away from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, including many who describe themselves as supporters of the project, according to a New York Times poll.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tied together Republican opposition to same-sex marriage, the Ground Zero mosque, and illegal immigration, as he charged that "the Republican method" for electoral success is "hate." The MSNBC host opened the show: "The Republican method for winning elections is hate. Hate somebody. Anybody will do. We have seen it this year with immigrants and now, Muslims. And now, in our fifth story tonight: for the first time, we have a former head of the Republican party confirming that, yes, his party does it. They do it to win and did it in 2004 and 2006 against gay Americans. He said this even though he himself is no longer denying that he, too, is gay."
Without evidence, Olbermann also blamed the stabbing of New York City cab driver Ahmed Sharif on those who oppose construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. Although he later admitted that the mosque was not mentioned by the suspect, the MSNBC host suggested a link as he teased the show:
Mowjood? As Alana Goodman of the Business and Media Institute reported earlier this month, Sharaf Mowjood is a former lobbyist for the Council on American Islamic Relations, an interest group that strongly supports the mosque. Mowjood coauthored a glowing Dec. 9, 2009 article on the mosque with reporter Ralph Blumenthal and also contributed to a sympathetic story by Barnard August 11 about public relations missteps by the mosque sponsors.
Barnard began with an anecdote about a Rauf lecture in Cairo where the imam (with a voice the Times describes as "soft, almost New Agey") was accused by radical Islamists of being an American agent (a story which of course bolsters Rauf's moderate credentials). Barnard seemingly took it as her mission to rebut charges of extremism against Rauf.
In his absence -- he is now on another Middle East speaking tour sponsored by the State Department -- a host of allegations have been floated: that he supports terrorism; that his father, who worked at the behest of the Egyptian government, was a militant; that his publicly expressed views mask stealth extremism. Some charges, the available record suggests, are unsupported. Some are simplifications of his ideas. In any case, calling him a jihadist appears even less credible than calling him a United States agent.
Yesterday Eyeblast.tv went up to New York City to interview people about the proposed Ground Zero mosque. While there, we were able to interview a security guard outside of the mosque location who said he was a long-time friend and follower of the Ground Zero imam.
But reporters Michael Barbaro and Javier Hernandez actually led with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's weepy speech about religious tolerance, falsely asserting that that denying permission to build a 13-story Islamic center topped by a mosque would somehow be "denying the very constitutional rights" that New York City police and firefighters died protecting.
And the Times again insinuated that opposition to the mosque is coming mostly from outsiders, while New Yorkers have gotten on with their lives and don't oppose it -- a half-truth at best, as shown by results of a poll of New Yorkers.
Times reporters were very impressed with the speech. Both Jodi Kantor and Brian Stelter linked to speech coverage on their Twitter feeds, Kantor calling it a "must-read" and Stelter calling it "worth reading."
Here's the Times's lead:
As New York City removed the final hurdle for a controversial mosque near ground zero, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg forcefully defended the project on Tuesday as a symbol of America's religious tolerance and sought to reframe a fiery national debate over the project.
Reporters Ray Rivera, Al Baker, and Janet Roberts combined on a front-page Monday New York Times story questioning the frequency of "stop-and-frisk" policing by the NYPD in high-crime sections of the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn: "A Few Blocks, 4 Years, 52,000 Police Stops." The text box: "Frisk Tactic Draws Questions Where It Is Used Most."
It's a quasi-followup to an overheated May 13 front-page Times story which focused more on the racial aspect of frisking: "City Minorities More Likely To Be Frisked -- Increase in Police Stops Fuels Intense Debate." The shoe leather analysis of that story was performed by the hard-left Center for Constitutional Rights, which the Times identified only as "a nonprofit civil and human rights organization." Monday's story also relied on research from the unlabeled leftists of CCR.
Yet the paper's reporters seem more worried about the frisking "frenzy" than do the residents of the crime-ridden neighborhoods that were the alleged victims of excessive stops and searches.
When night falls, police officers blanket some eight odd blocks of Brownsville, Brooklyn...The officers stop people they think might be carrying guns; they stop and question people who merely enter the public housing project buildings without a key; they ask for identification from, and run warrant checks on, young people halted for riding bicycles on the sidewalk.
It certainly will "fuel intense debate" if the Times has anything to say about it.
But the shoe leather analysis was performed by the hard-left Center for Constitutional Rights, which is never identified ideologically but merely called "a nonprofit civil and human rights organization." Founded in 1966 by left-wing lawyer William Kuntsler, it has represented defendants at Guantanamo Bay, and its president Michael Ratner said in a December 2005 press release: "Every American should be in political rebellion against the criminals now running this country." That would be the Bush administration. Could such a group just possibly have an interest in alleging racial discrimination among the NYPD?
Combining bleeding heart bluster with soak-the-rich envy, Newsweek's Ben Adler savaged liberal billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in an April 14 The Gaggle blog post for his green-lighting city homeless shelters to levy a monthly rent on residents who hold down jobs:
Don't complain about your taxes today, they are surely less than the 44 percent of one's income that homeless New Yorkers are about to start paying.
New York City, whose mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is worth an estimated $17.5 billion, has announced that it is going to charge homeless people for staying in city housing shelters.
Adler went on to briefly cite the New York Daily News before snarking that "[a]nyone who has spent a minute in a homeless shelter knows better than to buy the preposterous idea that people who could afford an apartment would rather stay there."
Of course that's an unfair assessment of the argument for charging rent of homeless shelter residents who have jobs. From the Daily News article Adler himself cited (emphasis mine):
Veteran New York Times welfare-beat reporter Jason DeParle took yet another victory lap in his Thursday story on how food stamps are losing their stigma in a piece co-written with Robert Gebeloff: "Once Stigmatized, Food Stamps Find Acceptance."
These same two reporters wrote a national version of the same story with virtually the same headline less than three months ago, which appeared on the front page November 29, 2009: "Food Stamp Use Soars Across U.S., and Stigma Fades." Both stories are apart of the paper's occasional series "The Safety Net."
The triumphal headline and DeParle's accompanying attitude of barely concealed vindication is no surprise, given his long-time opposition to welfare reform, noted most bluntly in a sour and alarmist piece he penned as a Times reporter, opposing the passage of Clinton-era welfare reform in the July 28, 1996 Times Week in Review: "Get a Job -- The New Contract With America's Poor." DeParle warned in that 1996 piece:
Thursday's story came in the aftermath of two big Republican wins in New Jersey and Virginia governors' races. Yet Hulse, echoing liberal wishful thinking, portrayed the special congressional race in upstate New York, where Douglas Hoffman, running on the Conservative ballot, came within a few points of beating the Democrat, as an "embarrassing loss."
Blaming election setbacks on a drop in voter enthusiasm, Congressional Democrats said Wednesday that losses in governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey -- and a striking House win in New York -- should give new urgency to their legislative agenda, including a sweeping health care overhaul.
As they assessed the results, Democratic lawmakers and party strategists said their judgment was that voters remained very uneasy about the economy and did not see Democrats producing on the health, energy and national security changes they promised when voters swept them to power only a year ago.
Republicans portrayed the election outcome as a repudiation of Democratic policies and predicted significant Congressional gains next year despite Tuesday's embarrassing loss in a longtime House Republican stronghold in upstate New York.
The G.O.P. had two big victories yesterday in off-year elections, winning the race for governor in New Jersey and Virginia for the first time since 1997. The New York Times's coverage was dominated by three themes used to explain away the success of Republicans:
The Republicans won by appearing moderate.
The congressional race in upstate New York revealed deep divisions within the G.O.P.
These off-year elections don't mean much anyway (except when Democrats win).
1) Republicans Won by Moderating:
Even after wins by two conservative Republicans, the Times spin was that moderation had prevailed, arguing that both New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie and Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell won by trimming their social conservative stands.
In a Tuesday web post before returns were in, the paper's chief political reporter Adam Nagourney said that even a win by Virginia conservative McDonnell would be a victory for moderation:
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."
We've all been witness to the deft handling of the MSM by Andrew Breitbart and the investigative reporters James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. Their work has uncovered a level of corruption being perpetrated by members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), heretofore unknown; at least by those who derive their information solely from the likes of Big Media.
However, as diligent members of the conservative community, it is crucial that one keeps an eye out for lower levels of corruption stained by the fingerprints of ACORN. Will your local newspapers be able and willing to connect the dots?
One such scenario involves a massive voter fraud case in upstate New York. The allegations, which were brought to light by the Albany Times Union, involve absentee ballots forged by people associated with the city's Democratic Party for those registered to vote on the Working Families Party (WFP) line in Troy, NY. The ballots not only involve clearly forged signatures, but also, falsifying excuses for not being present on Election Day, and registering individuals who no longer live in the area.
Some interesting items not being covered in the investigative report are the links between the WFP and ACORN, and even certain names mentioned in the article which clearly show ties with the organization.
An article in the Albany Times Union promotes a controversy brewing in local schools in upstate New York. A controversy in that schools are willing to close their doors during Christian and Jewish religious holidays - but not Muslim holidays.
Tucked away within the article is a supporting statement from Jay Worona, counsel for the New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA), in which he promotes a possible alternative to canceling classes. Worona states, "One request we have seen is for a room during Ramadan for students to pray in, and many districts are attempting to provide those."
What the reporter fails to note is that Worona, who apparently is in favor of separate prayer rooms for Muslim students, opposes the inclusion of a display containing the Ten Commandments in New York schools.
Interesting. A prayer room for Muslim students. What happened to the separation of religion and education, church and state? Or did that only apply to the assault on Christianity in our schools, the elimination of nativity scenes, the conversion of labels such as 'Christmas Break' to 'Winter Break', or the deletion of the phrase 'under God' from our Pledge of Allegiance?
Here's an interesting example of government-run health care losing a sense of fiscal common sense. From Channel 2 in Buffalo comes the story of Scott Graham, a man with sickle-cell anemia that causes him stabbing pain.
Graham doesn't have a job, insurance or car. So, when he feels bad, he doesn't call a cab. He calls 911 to have an ambulance drive him to the hospital.
A 2 On Your Side investigation found that from January 2006 to May of this year, Rural Metro Ambulance picked him up 603 times.
Medicaid picked up the tab for each ride, costing taxpayers at least $118,158.
How does the federal government explain this kind of waste in the federal health system? Apparently, the bureaucrats were more interested in finding out who blew the whistle:
2 On Your Side contacted Medicaid to have them look into the number of times Graham used an ambulance. Medicaid appeared more interested in how we got the information, rather than how much it cost taxpayers to pick him up.
Medicaid fraud and abuse costs $60 billion each year nationwide.
Call it an ominous warning, but Fox News Channel afternoon host and ratings sensation Glenn Beck on Wednesday cautioned viewers that government is strengthening its grip of power and is not going to stop at the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Beck declared on his May 6 broadcast the government is out of control, noting that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were a weekly occurrence, including efforts to make the TARP bailout more transparent earlier this year from the Treasury Department.
"We've got a government out of control and I'm telling you, it is up to you to control it," Beck said. "These stories of corruption and abuse of power, I'm going to continue to bring them to you as long as I possibly can, and everybody else on this network is dedicated. But it seems like every week this network is filing another Freedom of Information Act request. Even with all the resources of Fox, the truth still can't be fully exposed without you. I ask you, please - help us. Meet us here every day. Tell all of your friends what you learn here. Spread it. E-mail me. Tell me what I'm missing. We will do the best we can to provide you with the information, but it is a little overwhelming."
Liberal double standards ahoy! The New York Times news pages have virtually ignored the grass-roots "tea party" protests held in various towns across the country opposing Obama's big-spending and supporting free markets. The paper has run not a single story on a protest, even when one happened in the paper's own backyard of Ridgefield, Conn.
By contrast, a much smaller "bus tour" protest organized by a left-wing group of the homes of AIG executives received prominent and sympathetic coverage in the paper's National section, a protest where the media (50) outnumbered the protestors (40).
On Tuesday, Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes took the plunge and covered a genuine "tea party" in Northport, N.Y., a hamlet on Long Island Sound, complete with costumes and wooden crates for the dumping.
The only question is: Why did he bother?
From the start of his signed editorial, "Don't Tread on Them," it's clear Downes considers the movement a patchwork of right-wing kooks, snottily caricaturizing the protestors as silly, lazy, and greedy ("mostly, it was about tax cuts"). The text box: "Long Island patriots strike a blow against tyranny and whatever."
It's enlightening to see what topics New York Times editors find disturbing and newsworthy and which ones they shrug off or ignore.
New York's new senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is a Democrat who is nonetheless under strong suspicions at the liberal Times for her support of gun rights and her previous representation of a white conservative district. On Friday's front page, she came under fire via a stash of old ammo in a story by Raymond Hernandez and David Kocieniewski. "As New Lawyer, Senator Defended Big Tobacco." Gillibrand is in trouble for defending Big Tobacco as a lawyer representing Philip Morris back in 1996.
The Philip Morris Company did not like to talk about what went on inside its lab in Cologne, Germany, where researchers secretly conducted experiments exploring the effects of cigarette smoking.
So when the Justice Department tried to get its hands on that research in 1996 to prove that tobacco industry executives had lied about the dangers of smoking, the company moved to fend off the effort with the help of a highly regarded young lawyer named Kirsten Rutnik.
Ms. Rutnik, who now goes by her married name, Gillibrand, threw herself into the work. She traveled to Germany at least twice, interviewing the lab's top scientists, whose research showed a connection between smoking and cancer but was kept far from public view.
The Albany Times Union recently showed the breadth of their journalistic abilities by doing a head scratching piece on ‘Baracking' - a supposed new culture-changing form of slang. Ah, so that's what the kids are calling it...
Scott Waldman of the Union apparently suffered from what those in the business would call ‘a slow news day' this past weekend. As such, he ran with a piece on two local high school seniors who have seemingly foregone a desire to excel at English, and instead have developed new phrases that play upon the President's name.
Waldman interviews the pair, and then makes a mind-boggling extrapolation, interpreting the action of these two students as a demonstration that,
Barack Obama's rise to the White House already has changed the way young people talk to one another,' and that this is simply ‘a natural progression of Obama's prominent spot in pop culture.
Exactly what phrases are sweeping the nation these days? How about these allegedly ‘creative' gems...
What up, my Obama?
Barack's in the White House now - which means cool it.
And the appalling response to someone sneezing - Barack you.
There's nothing in Santos's story Wednesday about the fact that the leader of this alleged "grass-roots effort," ACORN, receives funding from the federal government through various federal programs and third-party groups, or that it registered thousands and thousands of ineligible voters during the last presidential campaign. Instead, readers were treated to 1,260 words of "power to the people" sloganeering straight from ACORN without a single dissenting voice.
As resistance to foreclosure evictions grows among homeowners, community leaders and some law enforcement officials, a broad civil disobedience campaign is starting in New York and other cities to support families who refuse orders to vacate their homes.
Update (Feb. 9; 11:15 EST): Apparently the Buffalo News updated the story and the link I gave in my lede goes to a follow-up story. I wasn't able to find the exact article I was writing about, but here is a link to an updated story from Feb. 6 by Armario, entitled: "Botched abortion outrages pro-life, pro-choice factions."
In one of the more insulting comparisons seen in recent memory, Albany Times Union editorial cartoonist John de Rosier does a major disservice to the honorable men who served during the Battle of Iwo Jima, by depicting recent efforts of Democrats to pass a non-stimulating ‘economic stimulus plan' as equally heroic.
The cartoon shows Democrats in the role of the Marines featured in the Iwo Jima Memorial, a sculpture based on the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal entitled Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. The exception to this replicationlies in the flag being raised - the Dem's are trying to hoist a ‘bailout flag' as opposed to a flag of the United States.
If that weren't insulting enough, the cartoon also shows the Republican Party mascot, the elephant, trying desperately to pull the flag down.
In short, the Democrats are trying to save our nation by heroically raising up the Obama bailout flag, while the villainous Republicans are trying to destroy our nation by stopping their efforts.
There was an interesting post Tuesday morning on the New York Times's "City Room" blog, "Che, or a Statue of an Actor Playing Che," about a statue of an actor playing Che Guevara recently installed in a corner of Central Park. David Gonzalez interviewed passerby delighted at the representation (once-removed) of Guevara, the colorful Communist thug romanticized among the benighted left and the uninformed public for his colorful charisma and sex appeal.
Che Guevara has been put on a pedestal in Manhattan. This is something not lacking in irony, since Manhattan might not exist today had the Argentine-born, Cuban-tested revolutionary had his way and unleashed the Soviet nukes against the United States during the 1962 missile crisis.
Are New Yorkers really allowing such an homage to occupy the southeast corner of Central Park? Technically, no. The statue actually depicts a Barcelona street performer portraying Che, part of three bronze sculptures by Christian Janowski, which were recently installed by the Public Art Fund.
The Times's Gonzalez didn't genuflect to the urban hipster mentality.
Douglas Turner of the Buffalo News wants conservative radio talkers silenced. He calls them "virulent," "violent" and "coarse" and hopes that starting January 1 the "work of flushing" them will begin. Turner fills his little anti-free speech screed with claims and a few examples of how rotten he thinks righty talkers are and how they need to be shut down, yet can't seem to find a single cross word to say about the "coarseness" of lefty talkers. In other words, it is plain that "coarseness" or "one-sided" radio isn't really a concern of his. Only eliminating the free speech of the right is his goal not any leveling of the playing field.
Naturally, his is filled with prosaic generalizations. Turner assumes that all conservative talk show hosts "were fond" of addressing Obama as "Hussein," his middle name. Yet, Turner offers no list of those that did. He says righty talkers are "violent" but does not offer a single example to prove the allegation. It also seems that Turner can't understand why radio hosts that call themselves conservative would be "one-sided." Curiously, he didn't excoriate Alan Colmes, Randi Rhodes, or Al Franken for being "one-sided." (I know... Imagine that, huh?)
Rush Limbaugh killed some church goers in Tennessee last July. That is the message from a Newsday.com columnist for a local New York newspaper chain. Now, I've listened to Rush Limbaugh many times. Because of my schedule, I cannot listen every day, so certainly I have not heard every word the man has ever uttered, but I am sure that you won't be able to find a time when he told people to go out and kill liberals. Neither have I ever heard Sean Hannity advocate murder. Michael Savage.... well, I haven't heard it but I almost wouldn't be surprised, almost. Still, even Savage is smart enough not to do so I am sure. Regardless of a complete lack of such incitement to murder made by these "right-wing Shock jocks," as she puts it, Jenna Kern-Rugile is sure that the killings of the members of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville last July is the fault of Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage.
Her premise is that the "rhetoric of extreme right pundits" such as Limbaugh, Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly "might" have caused shooter Jim D. Adkisson, 58, to gather up his guns and perpetrate a murder spree on July 27 at the Unitarian Church in Knoxville.