California Governor Jerry Brown apparently thinks he's some kind of comedian. I would suggest that he not quit his current day job, but many readers would probably prefer he do that.
At a union-organized joint legislative conference on Monday, as reported in the Sacramento Bee, Brown told the following knee-slapper in connection with the high-speed rail project which is on track (excuse the pun) to become the mother of all public works boondoggles: "There's a lot of old people who shouldn't be driving ... They should be sitting in a nice train car working on their iPad, having a martini." More from the Bee's blog post (I would not know if it made it to the paper's print edition) follows the jump:
The Los Angeles Times decided, as one of California’s leading arbiters of political correctness, that they would skip the ironic headline of “Illegal alien wins license to practice law.” That kind of direct language is a bit too honest. The use of the I-word will be banned in all civilized and "inclusive" forums in the future, and this may mark the beginning.
“California court grants law license to Mexican immigrant” was the headline, and reporter Maura Dolan took many paragraphs before listing just how many times this new lawyer evades all those annoying technicalities they teach you about in law school.
On Megyn Kelly's Fox News Channel show last night, reporter Trace Gallagher countered the Obama adminstration's attack on Stage Four cancer patient Edie Littlefield Sundby, whose Sunday evening Wall Street Journal op-ed on her individual plan's termination in California has garnered major attention. Ms. Sundby wrote that she has not found an available insurance plan option which will cover visits and treatments from both her current oncologist and her current primary care doctor.
In the process of addressing the White House's reference to a far-left Think Progress report which tried to pin the blame on Ms. Sundby's carrier — as if that addresses the obvious failures of her Obamacare options, which it obviously doesn't — Gallagher dropped a bombshell. Covered California, the formerly Golden State's Obamacare exchange, mandated as a condition of participation that any insurance company wishing to offer plans there had to cancel all existing individual policies in the state which did not qualify under Obamacare's strictures, i.e., they could not have any grandfathered plans (video is here full transcript is here; bolds are mine):
In a Sunday morning report which tries to put the best possible face on a project which appears to be on track to make the $22 billion "Big Dig" in Massachusetts look like a petty cash disbursement, Juliet Williams at the Associated Press claimed that the $68 billion involved thus far "would span the state." No it wouldn't, unless all of the formerly Golden State north of the San Francisco Bay Area — roughly one-fourth of the state's land mass — were to secede.
Williams also wrote: "Voters in 2008 approved $10 billion in bonds to start construction on an 800-mile rail line to ferry passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2 hours and 40 minutes." Nope. It's an 800-mile rail "network" (quoting from the state's ballot measure guide) which was supposed to include San Diego to the south (see the top left at Page 6 at the link), and apparently now does not. In other text seen below, she cited that 2008 proposition, which carried by a margin of 52.7% to 47.3%, as evidence that voters "overhelmingly approved" the project.
Politico's Katie Glueck must have been really desperate for something newsworthy as a Saturday column topic.
She apparently believed it was worth devoting over 1,500 words to a writeup whose key point was that "at least one Republican" doesn't like Texas Governor Rick Perry's aggressive attempts to persuade companies in other states to relocate to or expand in the Lone Star State. She cited only one. Even that person person's criticism was very mild, and it came from someone who, because of his position, couldn't say that what Perry is doing is great even if he wanted to without risking his job. Despite the overdose of verbiage, Glueck also never provided any details of Texas's outsized contribution to the nation's overall mediocre post-recession job growth.
This goes back about ten days, and I originally missed it. Fortunately, though, an Investor's Business Daily editorial got around to mentioning Rick Perry's visit to California last week in an effort to lure businesses to the more commerce-friendly environs of Texas.
Associated Press report Juliet Williams and her story's headline writer were not amused by Perry's aggressiveness. Williams seemed to be bucking to have her picture placed next to the words "petty" and "vindictive" in the dictionary. Several paragraph from her February 11 coverage of Perry's visit to the formerly Golden State follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
As NewsBusters readers know all too well, Democratic elected officials across the fruited plain are used to softball interviews from their adoring media.
That’s not what California Governor Jerry Brown got Wednesday when conservative talk radio host Larry Elder told him, “You’re unhappy because I’m not kissing your butt. I’m not going to do it” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
From the "I thought Social Security was supposed to have solved this decades ago" Dept.: The State of California has just passed a law mandating opt-out pension plan contributions of 3% of earnings for six million workers in the private sector, or roughly half of its private sector workforce.
The targeted population is the cadre of those working at employers of five or more who do not offer a retirement plan. It has the distinct aroma of a bailout, because of who gets to manage the money. Excerpts from a predictably dreadful Associated Press report by Judy Lin follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Democrats are at it again, claiming that Republicans, particularly House Republicans, are sabotaging the economy, while ignoring the quite effective job President Barack Obama has done to ruin the economy both on his own (regulatory and anti-fossil fuel hostility, wasteful green "investments," etc.) and with the help of Congressional Democrats when they controlled both Houses of Congress (stimulus, ObamaCare, trillion-dollar deficits, etc.).
The best argument against this nonsense is that if Republicans were really interested in hurting the economy, GOP governors wouldn't be doing good to even great jobs with their own states' economies. At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Josh Lederman, reporting from the National Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, attempted to frame a response to GOP governors' contentions (in bold after the jump) which qualifies as the howler of the day:
It seems that Matt Drudge is a better headline writer than whoever at the Associated Press performed the same task at its story about California lawmakers' passage of "building the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail line, a multibillion dollar project that will eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco" -- if sanity doesn't prevail in the meantime.
Since late yesterday, Drudge's home-page headline linking to the AP's story is "Broke California OKs funding for high-speed rail line..." That's a lot more complete than the wire service's "California high-speed rail gets green light." Then again, if the headline writer didn't already know about the state's serious budget situation, he or she wouldn't have learned from reporter Judy Lin, who stayed conveniently vague, as seen in the following excerpt:
Here we go again. The State of California's budget is again in crisis, facing a budget deficit of $16 billion, which is $6.8 billion higher than projected mere months ago. Governor Jerry Brown is browbeating residents to pass tax initiatives in November which include "a quarter-cent increase in the state sales tax for four years and a seven-year hike on incomes of $250,000 or more that will range from 1 to 3 percentage points."
The totally predictable problem (and, from all appearances, a bit contrived; the state's controller saw this coming several months ago, and was largely ignored) is that tax revenues aren't coming in as expected. Media treatment of the problem acts as if this all some kind of uncontrollable act of God which is a by-product of the recession and weak recovery.
In what amounted to a love letter to California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, special correspondent Tom Brokaw gushed: "It's not sunshine every day for the California economy, but Jerry Brown has not given up on big dreams. His new big dream, a high-speed rail line from the north to the south..."
Anchor Brian Williams set the scene for Brokaw's fawning report: "California is mounting a comeback led by a man whose name has been synonymous with California government for decades." Brokaw sympathetically declared: "The one-time boy wonder of California politics is now the state's aging lion....Sticking up for his state."
The media pandering on behalf of the Obama Re-election camp already is astonishing. During the George W. Bush years, everything bad that happened in America somehow was connected to the malignant reign of “The Decider.” Last year, CBS even sought out journalist Sally Quinn to claim that Bush’s victory in 2000 could be blamed for unraveling Al Gore’s marriage ten years later.
God knows, and so too do most Americans, that the state of the union is a mess. But in the Obama era, nothing that goes wrong can be traced back to the Democrats in power.
I can't say that I'm up on what every state is doing, but it's hard not to notice contrasts between two trios of states singing decidedly different tunes:
Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey, three states with recently elected conservative Republican governors, have either put their budgets to bed, or are on the verge of doing so, by cutting costs and not raising taxes.
Connecticut, Minnesota, and California, three states with recently elected liberal governors who are Democrats, are on the verge of a shutdown, serious layoffs, or issuing IOUs. All three governors have enacted or want tax increases.
Quirky liberal California Gov. Jerry Brown (elected to the post for the second time) was glorified in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine story by reporter Adam Nagourney in "Jerry Brown’s Last Stand."
Brown proceeded to answer the reporters’ questions with a display of self-confident humor and a command of facts, history and language that befits a man in the eighth decade of his life, as he likes to describe himself. The news conference ended, 22 minutes after it began, only when a reporter signaled the close with a clipped, "Thank you, governor." Brown wandered down the terminal, trailed by two television reporters who wanted to book him for studio interviews. One handed him a business card, which Brown slipped into his shirt pocket. When the governor arrived at his waiting car, he laid a garment bag straight and neat in the trunk and climbed into the passenger seat.
California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown was caught on tape in a conversation with an aide, in which that aide called his Republican opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" and CBS's Early Show, on Friday, didn't find that gaffe worthy to report, even though Brown was forced to apologize. ABC's Good Morning America, didn't do much better, as while they did report on the sexist phrased being hurled at Whitman they didn't get around to it, until the second hour of their show. ABC's Juju Chang, in a news brief, noted "Some salty language in the race for California governor. It's difficult to hear, but it's a voice mail recording that captures Democrat Jerry Brown" and an aide, "who used a not-so flattering word to describe" Whitman. Chang went on to play a clip of the aide saying of Whitman "She's a whore."
NBC's Today show, for some reason, bleeped out the offending word, but did offer the most extensive report of the controversy and unlike their morning competitors highlighted the story in the first hour of their program with Vieira teasing at the top of the show: "And caught on tape. A private conversation between California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and an aide recorded on a voice mail and derogatory word is used to describe rival Meg Whitman. The Brown camp is apologizing but Whitman's camp is calling it unforgivable, today." Vieira's colleague, Natalie Morales, then offered a full story, six minutes into the show.
Greta Van Susteren on Friday absolutely skewered Gloria Allred, the attorney representing California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's former housekeeper.
In a fiery nine minute discussion on Fox's "On the Record," the host accused her guest of being "unthinkable" and "rotten" by bringing this issue to light, especially right before an election.
"You're getting your client deported by putting a big neon sign, 'Hey, I'm here illegally, I signed documents falsely, and I've done that under penalty of perjury,'" scolded Van Susteren.
"On the eve of an election, to raise something like this, which has the possibility of smearing unfairly, calling someone a liar and subverting the electoral process...I think all three things are rotten" (video follows with comments and highlights along with full transcript at end of post, h/t Ed Morrissey):
Good Morning America on Thursday devoted nine minutes and three segments to the "bombshell" accusations that are "rocking" the California governor's race.
After relating the allegations that Republican Meg Whitman knowingly hired an illegal housekeeper, reporter David Wright proclaimed, " The political risk for Whitman? That she comes off at heartless or hypocritical." [MP3 audio here.]
"Either way, not a good day for her campaign," he added. Wright even framed the issue as a "she said/she said" controversy. After noting that when Nikki Diaz, the housekeeper, "applied for the job, Diaz had provided proof of Social Security and legal residency," Wright added that "Diaz's lawyer insists that Whitman knew for years those documents were false."
Co-host Stephanopoulos interviewed both Whitman and liberal lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing the woman. He began by hyping the allegations as a "potential bombshell in the California governor's race."
In late July, NB Contributing Editor Tom Blumer busted the Associated Press for neglecting to mention the party affiliations of scandal-plagued officials in Bell, California. The AP piece was one of hundreds of reports on the scandal. Of those hundreds, one solitary report mentioned party labels for the five officials.
Can you guess which party they belong to? I'll bet you can.
The only news outlet that mentioned the officials were Democrats was the Orange County Register. And even that paper noted the absence of party labels only in response to reader complaints. "Our readers noticed one part of the story has been left out by virtually all media sources," the paper's editorial board wrote. "All five council members are members of the Democratic Party."
The most prominent of the officials in question, former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo, resigned after it came to light that he was making $1.5 million per year - in a town with a per capita income languishing at about half the national average.
Jerry Brown was known as "Governor Moonbeam" in the 1970s, and ran for president from the left three times (to the left of Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980, and to the left of Bill Clinton in 1992). But now that he's running for governor again, Time magazine is trying to convince its readers he's really a centrist. In the August 2 magazine, reporter Karl Taro Greenfeld helpfully laid out Brown's case that he's a penny-pinching budget hawk:
He was never as eccentric as his Governor Moonbeam reputation would suggest. He was a budget hawk before that term was fashionable: he rejected the governor's mansion to live in a Sacramento apartment, was chauffered in a in a Plymouth Galaxy instead of a limousine and declined his own pay raises.
That's a weird passage: rejecting all the ritzy trappings of power is eccentric. But offering these small, symbolic poses does not make you a budget hawk. In trying to score Republican opponent Meg Whitman's ads, Factcheck.org recounted a 1992 story from the liberal New York Times:
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday repeated Democratic talking points as he challenged Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. Speaking of Whitman's tenure as CEO of Ebay, he admitted the company was "very successful," but critiqued, "You made a fortune. But your opponent, Jerry Brown, says that government is a completely different world."
The former Democratic operative turned journalist later repeated the words of Whitman's opponent: "Jerry Brown also says that the heart of your economic platform, he says, is tax cuts that are going to benefit you but not do much for the state of California."
In what seemed like a second attempt to undermine Whitman's business credentials, Stephanopoulos asserted, "You know, you see all of the shenanigans on Wall Street. And there's just as much distrust of the business world today as there is of politicians."
Many readers may already be familiar with recent exposure of the treasury plunderers disguised as public officials serving up hefty salaries to themselves while allegedly serving their constituents in the LA suburb of Bell, California.
Here's some of the latest from the Associated Press, carried at the Los Angeles Times, which broke the original story, for those who need a quick catch-up. Almost as night follows day, the news doesn't answer a question many readers here and elsewhere will naturally have:
Several hundred angry residents from a modest blue-collar Los Angeles suburb marched Sunday to call for the resignation of the mayor and some City Council members in a protest sparked by the sky-high salaries of three recently departed administrators.
The residents of the city of Bell marched to Oscar's Korner Market and Carniceria, owned by Mayor Oscar Hernandez, then to his home, demanding that he reduce his own six-figure compensation or quit.
They then did the same with some members of the City Council, with many marchers wearing T-shirts that read "My city is more corrupt than your city."
Chris Matthews on Friday called George W. Bush and Sarah Palin know-nothings.
Chatting with California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown on "Hardball," the MSNBC host also called the Republican candidate for governor in that state Meg Whitman a know-nothing.
"What is it in the American psyche or character that says, if you don`t know anything, you`re somehow an average person or average guy and you have horse sense?" asked Matthews.
"What is it about people that keep picking people like George W. Bush to be president? And you see these people like Sarah Palin out there with fans."
It seems in Matthews' view, governing Texas, Alaska, or running one of America's leading Internet companies requires zero intellectual capacity (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Weekly Political Review via Twitter's @ndgc12dx):
Americans learned something interesting about the priorities of the New York Times Tuesday: its editors believe a political candidate pushing an employee three years ago is more important than a candidate calling his campaign rival a Nazi last week.
Such seems apparent from the Times' choice to report California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's alleged employee shoving incident in 2007.
By contrast, the Gray Lady has still not informed readers that Democrat gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown last Tuesday likened Whitman to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, Brown said the following to KCBS radio's Doug Sovern:
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer greeted Meg Whitman’s victory in California’s Republican gubernatorial primary by putting forward Democrat Jerry Brown as the savior protecting the nation against Whitman becoming Governor. “Jerry Brown told us today, he wants the country to know that he sees this as an epic duel in California between the politics of ideas and the power of money,” Sawyer warned from Los Angeles in setting up an interview with Brown aired on Wednesday’s World News. Sawyer later relayed how Brown “believes the soul of California is at stake.”
Condemning Whitman’s spending on ads, Brown charged “it's almost like a ministry of information in a totalitarian country,” before he offered up pablum, unchallenged by Sawyer, about how he’ll solve the Golden State’s $20 billion shortfall by telling “legislators you have to get did of your cars, get rid of your perks.”
Sawyer fondly recalled: “For 40 years we watched him – the son of a political family who studied to be a Jesuit priest, then turned Buddhist seeker. When he became governor, he lived in one room, bed on the floor, and rode around in his own Plymouth.” Now, “he says it's a singular time for a man who believes the soul of California is at stake. He remembers studying Buddhism in Japan.” Brown got the last word in ABC’s infomercial for him: “‘Life and death is a serious matter. Time waits for no man. Do your best.’ And that, I think, could be the spirit of this campaign.”
Want to make a big splash to bolster your chances in a political campaign? A tried and true strategy for some attorneys general has been to champion a populist position by exploiting the legal system for publicity. Just look at the lead up to the launch of former New York AG Eliot Spitzer gubernatorial campaign with his attacks on Wall Street.
And that appears to be the playbook California Attorney General Jerry Brown is using in a lawsuit accusing State Street (NYSE:STT) of cheating the state's two largest pension funds, the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, of at least $56.6 million.
However, CNBC's Michele Caruso-Cabrera wasn't afraid to ask Brown if that was indeed the case in an Oct. 20 interview on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
Not this again. With Democrats in control of Washington, the possibility of the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine is getting stronger and the rhetoric is getting bolder. But this time, it's getting attention on the state level - the biggest state.
Former Democratic California governor and current Attorney General Jerry Brown appeared on conservative talk host Michael Savage's radio show on Feb. 13. One of the issues the two debated was the possibility of the renewal of the Fairness Doctrine. During the interview, Savage noted that Brown sounded as if he wanted state control over the media.
"Well, a little state control wouldn't hurt anybody," Brown replied.
Brown rationalized his view by citing a quote that state control would be an attempt to balance, not to censor.
"Stockton used to say, ‘If you have no views of one side, like in certain campaigns if somebody is attacking you, there's got to be some room for the other side,'" Brown explained. "It's an attempt to balance, not to censor."