June 17, 2008

AP Explains Why It Will Ignore Iraq Now That News Is Better

An unbylined Associated Press report yesterday, at least as carried at MSNBC, acknowledges improvement, and then explains why it’s not going to get much future coverage from the wire service as long as things stay that way:

BAGHDAD – Signs are emerging that Iraq has reached a turning point. Violence is down, armed extremists are in disarray, government confidence is rising and sectarian communities are gearing up for a battle at the polls rather than slaughter in the streets.

Those positive signs are attracting little attention in the United States, where the war-weary public is focused on the American presidential contest and skeptical of talk of success after so many years of unfounded optimism by the war’s supporters.

But is the public tuning out because they are “war-weary,” or are they tuning out because are so tired of hearing and seeing over-the-top negative stories? Significant levels of positive news have been lacking from Iraq for so many years that the likely expectation is that any news will be bad news.

Jim Taranto’s more succinct take at the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web is this:

Don’t expect to read any more about it (good Iraq news) from the AP. After all, you’re just not interested.

Once again, AP decides what the relatively disengaged will see based on its own set of priorities, which apparently do not include a responsibility to inform the public in a consistent matter.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Gift of Gaffe: Barack Obama Thinks Income and Net Worth Are the Same Thing

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Economy,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:19 pm

Not only that, the ignorance in on display is in what appears to be an official campaign video (HT Real Clear Politics):

(Excerpted comments begin at about 7:10 into the vid)

While you, most of you here have Social Security tax on every dime you’ve ever earned, you’ve got billionaires and millionaires who are paying on only a tiny ….. fraction of their income.

I’ve got a friend in Omaha, you may have heard of him, named Warren Buffett. He’s worth $56 billion. Y’know, if he’s only paying the first $100,000, that is .000001% of his income as he’s paying Social Security. I may have lost a couple of zeros in there.

The point is, it’s negligible to him, it’s not even noticeable. I think that’s why the best way forward is to first look to adjust the cap on the payroll tax, so that people like me, because I’m earning a bit more than $102,000, pay a little bit more and people in need are protected.

Folks, I cleaned up what Obama said as much as I could. Somebody ought to call Joe Biden and see if he wants to take back his comment about how articulate this guy is, instead of apologizing for having said it.

Anyway, here’s a translation of the bolded paragraph above I can (sort of) work with:

I’ve got a friend in Omaha, you may have heard of him, named Warren Buffett. He’s worth $56 billion. Y’know, if he’s only paying Social Security tax on the first $100,000, that is .000001% of his income on which he’s paying Social Security tax. I may have lost a couple of zeros in there.

You lost more than a couple of zeros, pal. You wanted your audience to mentally divide $100,000 by $56 billion (if you’re keeping score, that’s 0.00018%) — as if Warren Buffett’s income, which Obama never disclosed and probably isn’t known in total, is the same as his net worth. O,M,G.

Someone ought to tell Obama that:

  • Income is what you earn.
  • Net worth is what you have (after subtracting what you owe).
  • Warren Buffett probably earns most of his income, which he said was more than $46 million in calendar 2006, from capital gains and dividends, against which there is no Social Security tax (yet).
  • People pay Social Security tax on their income from work or self-employment, not on their net worth (yet).
  • If Warren Buffett currently has earnings from work of $5.6 million (my recollection is that it’s probably lower than that), Obama was “only” off by a factor of 10,000 ($56 bil divided by $5.6 mil) in that element of his attempted “calculation.” Also, the current taxable earnings limit of $102,000 would be 1.8% of Buffett’s earnings from work, not “.000001%.”
  • Under Obama’s proposal for Social Security, if Buffett’s earnings from work really is $5.6 million, he will pay over $663,000 more into the system —

    ObamaSocSecPropBuffett0608

  • Warren Buffett, whose net worth is $56 billion, might indeed see this tax increase as “negligible to him …. not even noticeable.” I would suggest that someone with little previous net worth earning $5.6 million for the first time might more accurately see being forced to cough up an additional $663K as theft by government.
  • Pile the 12.4% marginal tax just shown on top of the top federal income tax rate of 39.6% that would return if the current tax law isn’t extended, the 2.9% Medicare tax on all earned income, and at least 5% for state and local income taxes, and you’re at a marginal tax rate of just under 60%. That’s ridiculous.

Whether Barack Obama actually understands any of this is questionable.

This is the same guy who says that his earnings of roughly $4 million in 2007 (including book royalties, which are subject to Social Security taxation up to the current limit) is “a bit more” than $102,000. Some “bit.”

This guy is one election win away from being in charge of a $3 trillion-plus budget and responsibility for steering US economic policy.

O. M. G.

Things I’d Like To Post About Today ….. (061708, Morning)

Filed under: TILTpatBIDHAT — Tom @ 8:39 am

….. But I Don’t Have Any Time For:

(maybe this morning’s entry won’t disappear like yesterday’s)

  • The false bravado in Barack Obama’s “I’ll Bring a Gun” gambit shows what a great all-purpose nickname “Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH” (Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama – Objectively Unfit Coddler of Haters) really is.
  • This is the same Mr. Machobama who said last week that he gets queasy at the sight of blood. Notice how Howard “I’ve Got to Protect My Guy” Kurtz deleted the Q-word (what, it’s not in the Style Book?), and replaced it with “[faint]” at the bottom of this WaPo page. Larry Correla gets it right: “…. even at 70+ years old, he (McCain) would beat Obama to death with his walker.” Obama started all of this, so he’ll just have to endure it.
  • Apparently, the latest Shyamalan film is really bad (HT Instapundit) because “This isn’t just radical environmentalist fare; it’s perverse and anti-human.” No, no, no; radical environmentalism itself is perverse and anti-human. Even supposed “not so radicals” like Ted Turner support massive population reduction that could only be accomplished with brutality.
  • Darke Blog wonders if the Democrats are actively trying to drive the country into recession (HT NixGuy). Intentional or not, that’s result the Pelosi-Reid Do-Nothing, Obstruct-Everything Congress appears to be working towards. It’s a testament to the positive power of the 2001-2003 supply-side tax cuts that it hasn’t happened yet, and (crossing fingers) may not.
  • From Mark at Weapons of Mass Discussion — “(The Associated Press’s Nedra) Pickler is a perfect example of everything Tim Russert was not.” From top to bottom, AP is a perfect example of everything Tim Russert was not.
  • From Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion — “…. until (Victoria Wells Wulsin Whatever) gets around to the truth, I expect we’ll keep hearing about malariotherapy.” Yes we will. The Dean of Cincinnati’s latest posts on it are here and here. Only in Wells Wulsin Whatever Wonderland (or at its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ohio Daily Hack) would “no further action was required” mean the same thing as “no merit whatsoever.” One of several points that could be made over here in English Language Land is that “no further action was required” ordinarily means that some kind of action must have previously occurred, usually not favorable. There is surely more to come on this.

Positivity: Woman Credits Rare Procedure For Cancer Remission

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Southern California (video is at link; HT Fox News):

POSTED: 8:14 pm PDT June 11, 2008
UPDATED: 8:38 pm PDT June 11, 2008

CARLSBAD, Calif. — A Carlsbad woman survives cancer — twice — and is crediting a rare stem cell procedure for helping her battle the disease.

Suzanne Penney spoke with NBC 7/39 from her hospital bed, where she is recovering.

Penney battled breast cancer but was then diagnosed with leukemia. The leukemia, she said, was the result of her cancer treatments. It turns out the medicine that cured her made her sick again. About 1 percent of women develop leukemia after aggressive treatments of chemotherapy, according to health experts.

“Some people are shocked that I haven’t blamed God and chewed him out. But so many good things came out of having breast cancer, so something better must be ready to come out of this,” she said.

Penney decided to use an injection of healthy blood cells from infants to help her battle the leukemia.

“When information about stem cells first came out I was against it. I always thought, don’t mess with Mother Nature, and there’s going to be a bunch of cloned people walking around,” she said.

Her leukemia is now in remission.

“It turns out that in the umbilical cord blood there are a large number of potent stem cells that give rise to bone marrow,” said Dr. Edward Ball. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.