April 9, 2009

The Press Continues to Obsess Over Obama’s ‘Distractions’

Reuters is only the latest wire service to go way over the top in taking pity on President Obama for having to deal with nasty things that intervene to disturb Dear Leader’s apparent solitude.

At the same time, Reuters seems to be characterizing the situations in Iran and North Korea as “distractions” that are equivalent to that being posed by the Somali pirates.

I don’t know how else you can interpret the way this Reuters article by Steven Holland currently appears:


This is far from the first time a wire service has sympathized with the poor man being “distracted.” In an early January post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I cited four examples within the previous 30 days of events framed as “distractions” by the establishment media. Two of them related to developments in the Rod Blagojevich scandal that ultimately led to the Illinois governor’s removal from office; one had to do with Bill Richardson’s withdrawal as Secretary of Commerce nominee; and the fourth related to the ongoing controversies over the US Senate seats in Illinois and Minnesota.

According to this Google News search, The words “Obama” and “distraction” have both appeared in 2,425 articles in just the past 30 days; excluding duplicates, it’s about 450. Of course, all of them don’t necessarily tie in to the administration’s current activities, but a quick cruise through the results shows that at least the following items are potentially or actually distracting President ‘Prompter and/or his administration:

  • Any debate over the trade embargo with Cuba.
  • The bid to renew the Clinton Era’s assault weapons ban.
  • The Korean rocket incident.
  • The war in Afghanistan (as seen through the eyes of Europeans).
  • The AIG bonuses (according to Rahm Emanuel).

By contrast, this final page of a Google News archive search from January 20, 2005 through November 1, 2008 shows that “Bush” and “distraction” appeared together in 809 articles in almost four years. Comparability between the two metrics isn’t perfect, but I sympathize with anyone who finds that the press’s obsession with the supposed distractions the White House’s current occupant faces is driving them to, well, distraction.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Biden’s Latest Whoppers on Meetings With Bush: Something You’ll Likely Only See Or Read at Fox

JoeBidendebateJoeRaedle1008.jpgThat Joe Biden and the truth have been distant acquaintances from time to time was recently seen in March (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) when the Vice President claimed that Louisiana was losing 400 jobs a day. Louisiana at the time was actually gaining jobs.

The math-challenged Biden, who infamously said during the presidential campaign that the word “jobs” has three letters, is now making claims that he had face-to-face meetings with President Bush which aides and others don’t recall or have a record of. Not surprisingly, Biden’s narrative concerning these alleged meetings is meant to demonstrate what an influential truth-to-power guy he is.

Gag me.

Bill Sammon of Fox News has the story, which is a virtual lock not to make it into the established alphabet TV networks or into what’s left of the establishment’s newspapers:

Bush Aides Challenge Biden’s Boasts of Oval Office Slapdowns
Aides to former President George W. Bush are challenging the veracity of Vice President Joe Biden’s claim this week of having privately castigated Bush.

Aides to former President George W. Bush are challenging the veracity of Vice President Joe Biden’s claim this week of having privately castigated Bush, who does not remember the incident or an earlier episode in which Biden claims to have similarly rebuked Bush.

Biden spokesman Jay Carney declined to specify the dates of his boss’s purported Oval Office scoldings of Bush. Nor would he provide witnesses or notes to corroborate the episodes.

“The vice president stands by his remarks,” Carney told FOX News without elaboration.

Those remarks include a shot that Biden took at Bush on Tuesday.

“I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office,” Biden told CNN, “‘Well, Joe,’ he said, ‘I’m a leader.’ And I said: ‘Mr. President, turn and around look behind you. No one is following.’”

That exchange never took place, according to numerous Bush aides who also dispute a similar assertion by Biden in 2004, when the former senator from Delaware told scores of Democratic colleagues that he had challenged Bush’s moral certitude about the Iraq war during a private meeting in the Oval Office. Two years later, Biden repeated his story about dressing down the president.

“When I speak to the president – and I have had plenty of opportunity to be with the president, at least prior to the last election, a lot of hours alone with him. I mean, meaning me and his staff,” Biden said on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” in April 2006. “And the president will say things to me, and I’ll literally turn to the president, say: ‘Mr. President, how can you say that, knowing you don’t know the facts?’ And he’ll look at me and he’ll say – my word – he’ll look at me and he’ll say: ‘My instincts.’ He said: ‘I have good instincts.’ I said: ‘Mr. President, your instincts aren’t good enough.’”

Bush aides now dispute the veracity of both assertions by Biden.

“I never recall Biden saying any of that,” former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said after reviewing detailed notes of Bush’s White House meetings with Biden, which include numerous direct quotes from Biden. “I find it odd that he said he met with him alone all the time. I don’t think that’s true.”

I think the giveaway that Biden is making it up is the claim that he met with Bush alone “all the time.”

If these or other Bush-Biden meetings occurred, the press seems to never have noticed. The following isn’t conclusive, but it surely doesn’t help Biden. Google News Archive all-dates searches (all in quotes) on “Biden meets with Bush,” “Biden met with Bush,” “Biden speaks with Bush,” “Biden spoke with Bush” and “Biden addresses Bush” all come up empty. Similarly, nothing comes back for “Bush meets with Biden,” “Bush met with Biden,” “Bush spoke with Biden,” “Bush speaks with Biden,” “Bush addresses Biden,” “Bush and Biden met,” or “Biden and Bush met.”

By contrast, I was able to find one hit each for “Kennedy and Bush met” and “Bush and Kennedy met.”

I for one won’t be surprised if I someday find Biden’s picture next to the description of this term.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (040909, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:20 am

Noteworthy Net-Worthies:

“Open Blog” at Ace’s place suggests quitting smoking as a way of going Galt on SCHIP.

Last week at the Wall Street Journal, David Rivkin and Lee Casey made a strong case arguing that “card check” legislation that would short-circuit secret-ballot elections in union organizing situations is unconstitutional. It’s also a stark betrayal of one of FDR’s core legacies by the people who supposedly admire him. Previous BizzyBlog commentary is here, here, and here.

Repeating a point from March 5′s Lucid Links about Mike Quigley, who won the special election yesterday for Rahm Emanuel’s former Chicagoland congressional seat“Mike Quigley, the out-of-nowhere (primary) winner, who is almost assured of a general-election triumph, not only defeated union-favored candidates, he is also a de facto Tea Party sympathizer. He ‘fought the Old Guard on the (Cook) County Board and built an opposition bloc that voted down tax increases.’ He is also not in good graces with Mayor Dictator for Life Daley. Apparently voters saw that as a good thing.” I don’t think Democrat Quigley will be an Obama rubber stamp, as Chicago’s North Side has a lot well-off folks who would get stung badly by Obama’s tax increases just as their high-rise condo values have gone in the tank.

Cuba has just undergone an old-fashioned, control-centralizing Communist purge. That hasn’t prevented a delegation of Congressional Black Caucus congresspersons, including Ohio’s Marcia Fudge, from providing the island dictatorship propaganda cover. Fudge fudged on the nation’s horrid human rights record, saying that “You don’t go into someone’s house and insult them.” Well, you also don’t let yourself get used by a 50-year family tyranny — unless human rights really aren’t that important to you.

NOT a Positivity story, from March 30 — “Authorities in an impoverished Palestinian refugee camp have shut down a youth orchestra, boarded up its rehearsal studio and banned its conductor from the camp after she took 13 young musicians to perform for Holocaust survivors in Israel, an official said Sunday.” That’ll teach ‘em to do something nice.

Procter & Gamble is not happy with one of Obama’s tax proposals. “U.S. companies now are allowed to defer payment of taxes on foreign income until those funds are brought back into the country. Requiring immediate payment of taxes would give an edge to foreign competitors, such as L’Oreal, Unilever, Nestle and Kao, (P&G Chairman) Lafley said.” In essence, Obama wants companies like P&G to pay taxes on money not yet received. It may be sacrilege to say this in Cincinnati, but P&G does not have to be headquartered in the US. Further, if you think P&G sees itself as a US company selling to the rest of the world, you are sadly mistaken. For better or worse, it thinks of itself as a multinational company that happens to have the US as its headquarters.

Hmm — On March 30, Rasmussen reported a poll result claiming that “81% Say Middle Class Tax Cuts (Are) Important for Budget Plan.” One problem: the cuts apparently aren’t in congressional drafts of the budget plan. Look for this to be one of the most invisible stories of the year.

In Ohio and much of the rest of the nation, the healthcare sector has been about the only one that has seen job growth during the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy that dates back to June of last year. So how does Ohio Governor Ted Strickland handle it? He wants a hospital “franchise tax.” A Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial calls it “Strickland’s sneaky tax,” describing it as “a ‘franchise fee’ of 1.27 percent in 2009 and 1.37 percent in 2010 levied not on each hospital’s income, but on its spending. It’s a rough healthcare equivalent of Ohio’s awful Commercial Activities Tax, but on steroids. Now, many Greater Cincinnati hospitals “are delaying capital projects. …. laying off employees or freezing hiring.” I don’t think that is an unrelated development. Given that the Ohio Legislature’s resistance to Strickland’s 2009-2011 budget seems to be mostly procedural and not substance-based, and given that it waved Strickland’s 2007-2009 budget through without a fight, you can’t blame hospitals for bracing for the worst.

Positivity: Smoke alarm saved woman in flat blaze

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:42 am

From Sheffield, UK:

Published Date: 03 April 2009

A SLEEPING Sheffield woman’s life was saved today when she was woken by her smoke alarm after a blaze broke out in a block of flats.
Residents had to flee their homes as the blaze engulfed the top-floor landing of the block of four maisonettes on Delves Road, Hackenthorpe, at 1.10am as they slept.

Firefighters said when they arrived flames were shooting out of the landing window on the top floor and glass was shattering and falling to the ground.

All the residents managed to get out unhurt and an investigation has been launched this morning into the cause of the fire.

The woman whose flat was worst affected by the blaze woke up to find her home filling with smoke and the store cupboard outside alight.

Second after she got out of the building the heat became so intense it melted the smoke alarm which had alerted her to the blaze.

Watch manager Andrew Kelly, from Mansfield Road fire station, said: “The alarm saved her life by giving her the time to get out before the fire spread.

Go here for the rest of the story.