Doing the kind of reporting the establishment press would be doing if it were something other than the collection of presidential supplicants it has become, an Investor's Business Daily editorial Monday evening completely refuted outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's claim that a $600 million "cut" (really "a reduction in projected spending") would hurt the Federal Aviation Administration so badly that flight delays would be an inevitable result. One suspects that similar analyses of other agencies would also reveal that the fears expressed by "President Armageddon" (the Wall Street Journal's recent nickname for President Obama) have little if any basis in fact -- if one bravely assumes that the administration isn't hell-bent on inflicting the maximum amount of visible pain if sequestration indeed comes to pass.
As I've said often, there's far more of what really amounts to legitimate fact-based reporting (as opposed to White House stenography) in IBD and Wall Street Journal editorials than you'll find in most of the establishment press's so-called "straight news reporting" on the same topics. As far as the FAA is concerned, IBD shows that all the agency would have to do is redeploy its existing resources -- something which obviously should have been done long ago -- and should ultimately privatize the entire operation, as Canada has successfully done (bolds are mine):
When the Washington Post's Bob Woodward broke ranks with the Obama-loving media to correctly point out Friday that it was indeed the White House that originally proposed sequestration back in 2011, it was going to be interesting to see how many of his colleagues would follow suit.
On Sunday, CNN's Candy Crowley appeared to do so as she pressured Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about whether or not the administration has "ginned up" the impact of the sequester in order to pressure Congress telling him at one point, "Your post-sequester total at FAA ops and facilities and equipment is going to be about $500 million more than 2008 and the planes were running just fine" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
A Wednesday report by Keith Laing at the Hill failed to point out a quite obvious contradiction during departing Transportation Secretary LaHood's appearance on NPR's Diane Rehm show.
From all appearances, based on the video available at her site, Rehm, once LaHood launched into a predictable rant about how our transportation infrastructure is in serious disrepair, didn't ask -- and should have asked -- why the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the stimulus plan accompanied by those ubiquitous Recovery Act promotional signs seen at road construction projects didn't stabilize things two or three years ago. Excerpts from Laing's lackluster effort follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer invited on Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to tout federally mandated stickers that detail the fuel efficiency of new cars: "Another way to save money is to buy a fuel efficient car and today the federal government is unveiling new fuel economy labels that you soon will be seeing on all new cars."
Lauer asked LaHood, "$3.81, the average for a gallon of gas right now across the country. How much pressure on the administration to get that price down?" LaHood used the opportunity to cheer the new labels: "Gas prices are killing family budgets. The President gets it. This is part of the President's plan – these new labels – part of the President's plan to help people save money at the pump....The President gets it. This is part of our plan here."
In an interview with Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood on Friday's NBC Today, co-host Meredith Vieira exploited recent instances of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job to bash Republican efforts to curb government spending: "...the House signed a bill – passed a bill, I'm sorry – that would cut $4 billion from your budget. Are you worried about that?"
In response Lahood proclaimed: "Of course we're worried about it. And I think these incidents prove up the case that we can't let money stand in the way of safety....Money will never compromise safety. That will always be our priority for the flying public." Vieira followed up: "But just so I understand, are you saying that that $4 billion cut would negatively impact aviation safety?"
The promises of pie-in-the-sky liberal environmentalists that we can convert to "clean" energy sources and stimulate our economy are based on dubious environmental and economic assumptions, fantastic notions about alternative energy, and a disturbing acceptance of the tyrannies inherent in command-control economies.
It would be bad enough if President Obama and his Democratic allies were pushing budget-busting green energy solutions during an economic boom and times of a manageable national debt. But it's inconceivable that they would do so under the current dire fiscal circumstances.
"It's one thing to look a gift horse in the mouth. It's quite another thing to slaughter a gift horse and send its disemboweled corpse back to Washington."
That's how Time magazine senior correspondent Michael Grunwald characterized Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott's decision to spurn a federal Department of Transportation high-speed rail grant for the Sunshine State.
"This was the nation's most shovel-ready high-speed project, and the state wasn't required to spend a dime to build it," Grunwald noted in his February 16 Swampland blog post.
America is in debt past its eyeballs. Unemployment remains stuck near double digits. Small and large businesses, unions and insurers are clamoring for Obamacare waivers in droves. Jihadists are making a mockery of homeland security. And border chaos reigns. So, what's one of the Obama administration's top domestic policy agenda items this month? Combating distracted drivers.
What? You missed the Million Anti-Distracted Drivers Protest March on Washington and the Great Grassroots Groundswell for federal intervention on our highways and byways? Don't worry. You weren't the only one.
The co-hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" pleaded with the Secretary of Transportation Tuesday for federally mandated devices in cars that would scramble cell phone reception, as well as for raising the driving age nationwide to 18.
Calling himself a "small-government conservative," Scarborough said that he nevertheless supports a device in cars that would scramble cell phone reception while the car is in operation. Co-host Mika Brzezinski added that such a device was the only way to stop distracted-driving accidents.
"I can hear the battle coming, because we've got Chris Licht who's our E.P....when Mika was talking about disabling devices, said 'Yeah, well great, that's all we need, the federal government telling us when we can use our phones in cars'," Scarborough quipped, calling out his executive producer live on the set.
"Well I-I do actually want the federal government...I don't want my kids run over by a distracted driver. It seems to me that if the technology is there, we should – stop the texting, scramble it," Scarborough asserted.
There I was, harmlesly Olympics-watching something called the "men's snowboard parallel giant slalom"—quite a cool event, actually—when we were suddenly subjected to a commercial telling us not to phone or text while driving.
And of all people, it was terminally un-cool Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood inflicting the message and directing us to some website called www.distraction.gov.
Special C-SPIN Coverage of the Toyota Recall Hearings [Satire]
House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
REP. WALDEN (R-OR.): Secretary LaHood, are Toyotas safe to drive?
SEC. LAHOOD: We believe that the Toyotas listed on our Web site are not safe to drive - unlike the sporty, affordable Chevy Cobalt.
REP. SUTTON (D-OH.): So, you're saying that a woman - a minority woman - driving a Toyota is putting her life at risk?
SEC. LAHOOD: Yes ma'am there is a significant risk of her Toyota accelerating, uh, unwantedly. Now had that woman checked out the surprisingly affordable Buick Enclave ...
REP. DINGELL, (D-Mich.): Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you for your forthright testimony here today, and I'd like to ask you if you think these problems in vehicles built at Southern plants might be the result of negligence of workers who are unhappy? I mean workers whose job security and retirement are in constant jeopardy, and who've been denied the opportunity to collectively bargain? Who lack representation?
SEC. LAHOOD: If you mean to imply, Congressman, that these safety issues wouldn't have occurred in cars built in UAW plants, uh, you're absolutely right. Now, for the union professionals who build the luxurious Cadillac Escalade, there's union quality behind every turn of the wrench.
REP. WALDEN: Now let me ...
SEC. LAHOOD: I'd also like to say that the quality doesn't end at the factory door...
REP. WALDEN: Thank you...
SEC. LAHOOD: ...and it extends to those famous Mr. GoodWrench Mechanics...
The government's traditionally enforced safety standards on automobiles sold in the United States. But the government didn't always own a car company. So you'd expect the media to take a hard look when the government's roles as regulator and competitor converge.
"We've got a fabulous Toyota engine plant in Alabama," Sessions replied. "They've been doing very well. It seems that they've recognized they're going to fix this problem and it's going to take some effort."
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took to the WhiteHouse.gov blog today to try to refute a devastating AP report showing that the the stimulus's highway and road funding has done next to nothing to improve the unemployment situation. Though he offered a couple of valid points, LaHood, pictured right in a file photo, actually did very little refuting.
The AP asserts in its report that "there was nearly no connection between stimulus money and the number of construction workers hired or fired since Congress passed the recovery program. The effect was so small, one economist compared it to trying to move the Empire State Building by pushing against it."
LaHood points out--fairly--that the AP examines the construction industry as a whole while the seven percent of the $787 billion that went towards funding highway and road construction (roughly $55 billion) only affects the transportation construction industry, not the industry as a whole.