May 25, 2007

AP Reports on Iraq Vote Betray Unhappiness, Give Cover to Presidential Candidates

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:17 pm

David Espo of the Associated Press appeared to be unhappy with the result of the House vote on Iraq war funding, and to be offering an excuse for the House Democratic leadership (bolds are mine throughout this post):

WASHINGTON – Bowing to President Bush, the Democratic-controlled House reluctantly approved fresh billions for the Iraq war on Thursday, minus the troop withdrawal timeline that drew his earlier veto.

The 280-142 vote sent the bill to the Senate for final passage, expected later in the evening.

….. Five months in power on Capitol Hill, Democrats coupled their concession to the president with pledges to challenge his policies anew. “This debate will go on,” vowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, announcing plans to hold votes by fall on four separate measures seeking a change in course.

A later unbylined AP report about President Bush’s impending signature on the funding bill after Senate passage almost seems to have been written by the DNC, while providing cover for the party’s two leading presidential candidates:

The White House expects to receive the Iraq funding bill this afternoon and says President Bush will sign it without fanfare.

Democrats may have lost the first round with the president on ending the war in Iraq since taking over Congress in January, but they say their fight has just begun.

….. I feel a direction change in the air,” said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House panel that oversees military funding.

Democrats looked to the upcoming votes after losing a bruising battle with Bush on an emergency war spending bill.

….. Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama both voted against the bill.

“I fully support our troops” but the measure “fails to compel the president to give our troops a new strategy in Iraq,” said Clinton, D-N.Y.

“Enough is enough,” Obama, an Illinois senator, declared, adding that Bush should not get “a blank check to continue down this same, disastrous path.”

Their votes continued a shift in position for the two presidential hopefuls, both of whom began the year shunning a deadline for a troop withdrawal.

Shift in position? Flip-flop is more like it.

Cross-posted at

This May Rock the PC World (Dell into Wal-Mart)

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 8:45 am

From CNet (HT Techdirt):

Dell plans to begin selling desktop PCs in Wal-Mart Stores in the next few weeks, the first move in a major departure from its decades-long sales strategy.

Wal-Mart plans to sell the Dimension E521 in more than 3,000 retail locations in the United States, Samir Bhavnani, research director at Current Analysis West, told CNET

“Finally, Dell has addressed one of its main problems by giving customers a chance to touch and feel its products,” Bhavnani said. “Dell’s going to be touching a lot of people who weren’t necessarily looking to buy a PC.”

The move follows a pronouncement by founder and CEO Michael Dell that the PC maker would be making a major push in commercial reseller and retail channels.

Bringing “Always Low Prices” to PCs might be making a few electronics-only retailers and other PC manufacturers a bit nervous. I think the big questions are how many customers need hand-holding before they make their decision to buy, and what kind of installation and post-sales support will be available.

Interesting Omission from, and Assumption in, Initial AP Report

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:09 am

It’s pretty interesting that the Associated Press’s initial report advising Hillary Clinton to bypass Iowa didn’t mention that John Edwards is ahead in the polls there. I think it’s fair to ask whether anyone else shown trailing in the polls would indeed be reported as trailing in polls (of course they would; a later report did just that, but the question about the initial report stands).

Clinton’s opponents are surely grateful for that awful picture of her at the first link.

The assumption in the report concerns Iowa’s governor:

Clinton has also collected the endorsement of former-Gov. Tom Vilsack and his wife Christie. They accompany her on virtually all of her campaign stops. Vilsack sought the Democratic presidential nomination, but dropped out earlier this year when he found it difficult to raise money. He remains very popular with Iowa Democrats and is considered a significant asset to her Iowa campaign.

Whether or not the polls support the claims of Vilsack’s popularity, it’s important to recall that Vilsack vetoed eminent-domain bills (fourth item at link) that had passed by 80% and 90% bipartisan majorities. I contend that this was a relevant factor in his presidential campaign’s quick fizzle, and that he is nowhere near the “significant asset” AP assumes he is.

Positivity: Man gives thanks to firefighters who saved his life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:34 am

From Cathedral City, California:

They say it happens maybe once in a firefighter’s career that a victim who is as good as dead can be brought back to life.

Because of the work of three Cathedral City firefighters, Bob Etherton overcame seemingly insurmountable odds.

The 54-year-old from Yucca Valley was staying in a Cathedral City home when it caught fire Feb. 27.

Etherton doesn’t remember much about that night. He bumped his head – maybe from his socked feet slipping on the marble tile in the house.

All he recalls of the day he would have died was looking at one of the Cathedral City firefighters who saved his life as an air mask was slipped over his nose and mouth.

So when Etherton saw firefighters Mark Caouette, Kino Suarez and Joe Burque and engineer Josh Hess this week for the first time since that evening three months before, emotion couldn’t be contained.

“I owe those guys my life and the neighbor who called them,” Etherton said. “I got tears in my eyes. A couple of the guys got tears in their eyes. I have no words for it.”

The Cathedral City firefighters were honored at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Chief Bill Soqui told a full house at the meeting that of every 10,000 American deaths caused by fires, 80 percent are due to smoke inhalation.

Go here for the rest of the story.