November 11, 2008

AP Poll Report Claims Confidence That Obama Will ‘Fix’ Economy; Actual Poll Asked If He Will ‘Improve’ It

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:30 pm

APandGfKlogo1008Now that Barack Obama has won the presidency, the poll cookers at the Associated Press have dutifully generated a barely-disguised press release for him.

A report this afternoon on the results of an AP GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media Poll is headlined “Most in AP poll confident Obama will fix economy ” at Yahoo!, Google (shorter report), and the wire service’s home site (all are dynamic links subject to change).

There are “only” two problems:

  • The underlying sample is heavily skewed towards Democrats, including strong Democrats.
  • Much more important, in fact crossing into downright dishonesty, the poll question asked had to do with whether respondents thought that Obama would “improve” the economy, not “fix” it.

Here are the first two paragraphs of the relatively short, unbylined report (bolds are mine to note fawning and erroneous reporting):

In one of the economy’s darkest hours in decades, it looks like people are taking Barack Obama up on his exhortations for hope and change.

Seven in 10, or 72 percent, voice confidence the president-elect will make the changes needed to revive the stalling economy, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Tuesday. Underscoring how widely the public is counting on its new leader, 44 percent of Republicans joined nearly all Democrats and most independents in expressing that belief.

The rest of the report as it currently exists could be the topic of a separate post, and perhaps will be.

The underlying poll is available at this link as a PDF; click on “Nov. 6th-10th: Post-Election Poll” once there.

The poll sample was not only overweighted by party affiliation, but also by the strength of that affiliation (Questions PID1 and PID2 at Page 7 of the PDF). It consisted of 48% Democrats (21%. strong 19% moderate, 8% indie leaners) vs. 34% Republicans (13% strong, 11% moderate, 10% indie leaners).

More fundamentally, here is the actual poll question about the economy (Question CUR10 at Page 5 of the PDF; bolds are mine):

How confident are you that Barack Obama will be successful in bringing about the changes needed to improve the economy?

The phrase “bringing about the changes” is a totally unnecessary addition of words. I can’t see a reason to do it unless the goal is to cleverly echo Obama’s campaign rhetoric to influence the poll’s result. The question should simply have been, “How confident are you that Barack Obama will be able to improve the economy?”

The difference between “improving the economy” and “fixing” it is so obvious it doesn’t even require discussion.

Reporting a poll result that asked about “improvement” as if it really asked about “fixing” the economic situation, or “making the changes needed to revive the stalling economy” is flat-out, inarguable journalistic malpractice by a group that ought to rename itself the Assembled Propagandists.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

WSJ Editorial: Paygo is Gone

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:33 am

Showing once again that its opinion pieces serve a dual purpose as a news source, a Monday Wall Street Journal editorial noted that Democrats have quietly dropped a central plank of their successful 2006 effort to gain a congressional majority (HT Hot Air):

Late last week the leader of the House Blue Dog Coalition, Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper, announced that with Barack Obama about to enter the White House, “I’m not sure the old rules are relevant anymore.” Why not? Because, Mr. Cooper said, “It would be unfair to the new President to put him in a budget straitjacket.”

Democrats ran on “paygo” in 2006, promising to offset any new spending increases or tax cuts with comparable tax increases or spending cuts. Once in charge on Capitol Hill they quickly made exceptions, waiving paygo no fewer than 12 times to accommodate some $398 billion in new deficit spending — not that the press corps bothered to notice.

The Journal then goes on to explain what Paygo was really all about:

Paygo was always a big con designed not to reduce spending but to stop tax cuts. It was invented to stop the GOP Congress and then a Republican President, but it is inconvenient when Democrats run the show. With the recession available as an excuse for just about anything, get ready for the first $1 trillion federal budget deficit. And don’t expect any howling from the Blue Dogs.

Reinforcing the Journal’s point about paygo media coverage, a Google News search on the terms returns no results from a major traditional media source. A New York Times search on the term also shows no recent coverage. But when sorted from newest to oldest, the Times’s first result goes to the transcript of a March 27 speech by then-candidate, now president-elect Barack Obama. In that speech, on “Renewing the American Economy,” Obama made a statement diametrically opposed to Congress’s official, but often violated, stance:

I know that making these changes won’t be easy. I will not pretend that this will come without costs, although I have presented ways we can achieve these changes in a fiscally responsible way. I believe in PAYGO. If I start a new program I will pay for it.

The all caps in “PAYGO” is, I would suppose, some kind of indicator of how strongly Mr. Obama believes in the idea.

If Obama wants to defy his party’s apparently imminent switch and stick with paygo, it will take quite a bit in new taxes to pay for his spending plans. The Republican National Committee’s Obama Spend-o-meter shows almost $1.3 trillion in new spending programs proposed by Obama during the campaign.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: History of Veterans Day

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 10:05 am

All veterans today deserve a salute for serving their country. Heartfelt thanks to all for their service.

From the US Department of Veterans Affairs:

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Standing (l. to r.) are: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts.

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Standing (l. to r.) are: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday – - a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

* * * * *

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.” (Click here for the full text of the proclamation.)

On that same day, the President sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee. Click here for the text of President Eisenhower’s letter.)

In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.

The Uniforms Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to insure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Veterans Day, 1954
(more…)