July 31, 2009

AP Still Avoids Dem ID of Corrupt PA Judges After Briefly Doing So, Then Dropping, In Feb.

CiavarellaAndConahanPAjudges.jpgHere’s a “Name That Party” follow-up.

In a February post (“AP’s ‘Name That Party’ Twist: Disgraced PA Judges’ Dem Party ID Disappears After Initial Inclusion”; at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Associated Press had originally identified the party of two Democratic judges involved in a shocking scheme that pushed thousands of juvenile offenders into detention centers for minor offenses in return for millions in kickbacks.

However, in longer subsequent reports, the AP dropped the party affiliation of Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella (pictured at left) and Michael Conahan.

This evening, in a 5-paragraph story (as of 7:47 p.m.; story could change over time) about a federal judge’s refusal to accept plea agreements from the pair, AP Writer MaryClaire Dale stayed consistent with the wire service’s see-no-Democrats approach to developments in this grisly story:


Here is the comparison I did in February of what had to have been an earlier report carried on the left at Topix (still there) and the story at MSNBC on the right (still there) to which Topix linked:


The red box on the left shows where the story as carried at Topix identified the two judges as Democrats; at the time, it was the only place I found the identifying sentence. The red box at the right shows a paragraph that was added later by AP at the MSNBC link; the “Both are Democrats” sentence originally in the previous paragraph is gone. No form of the word “Democrat” appeared in the revised story at MSNBC; that is still true today. The green boxes show that the specific story linked by Topix is indeed the MSNBC story on the right.

Relevant contentions I made back in February still stand (in revised form for the purposes of this post):

  • It is virtually inconceivable that Topix would have gratuitously added “Both are Democrats” on its own. Those words were almost definitely present at MSNBC when Topix did its excerpt.
  • Short of an open admission, the pulled party-affiliation sentence following a brief, demonstrated appearance is probably as convincing a piece of evidence as we’ll ever see that many members of the press, particularly alleged journalists at “The Essential Global News Network,” are deliberately playing “Don’t Name That Democrat” whenever they can.

Now Ms. Dale has continued AP’s negligent coverage of this particular story, despite clear guidance to the contrary in the wire service’s Stylebook (noted near end of text at link):

party affiliation Let relevance be the guide in determining whether to include a political figure’s party affiliation in a story. Party affiliation is pointless in some stories, such as an account of a governor accepting a button from a poster child. It will occur naturally in many political stories. For stories between these extremes, include party affiliation if readers need it for understanding or are likely to be curious about what it is.”

AP’s original instincts back in February were correct. People, especially parents, would of course be curious about the party affiliation of corrupt judges in a horrible case like this. Ciavarella’s and Conahan’s party is avoiding a deserved stain in this matter, especially given the AP’s tendency to rediscover its Stylebook’s party-naming rules when Republicans and conservatives are involved in crime, corruption, or scandal. Judging, if you will, on past behavior, it seems very unlikely that the AP would have pulled the Democratic  judges’ party affiliation after an initial identification had they been Republicans.

All in all, it’s just another day of “Cover For Democrats and Liberals Whenever Possible” in AP-land. This one’s just more outrageous than usual.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


BizzyBlog Update: Former Judge Ciavarella was clearly still a Democrat in late 2005, and was making what would appear to be unethical campaign contributions to the party.

Absurd Headline of the Day: ‘Cuba shuts factories, cuts energy to save economy’

Life in the Workers’ Paradise of Cuba is a bit less than perfect these days.

So is the absurd headline that begins an Associated Press story by writer Will Weissert:


Oh come on. This isn’t about “saving the economy.” This is about saving the Cuban government on the backs of its long-suffering people, as will be seen shortly in Weissert’s own text.

Readers will see grim humor in several of Weissert’s other excerpted paragraphs, especially the last one:

…. More likely, the shortages result from a global recession that hit an already struggling economy still reeling from last year’s hurricanes. President Raul Castro scolded Cubans in a national address Sunday to work harder because they have no one to blame but themselves.

“The only thing I know is that this is lousy,” said one 27-year-old who only gave the name Raul because he sells cement and housing materials on the black market. “I don’t work. I find a way to survive.”

…. Cuba may be trying to save unused oil to bolster strategic reserves while prices are still relatively low, said Dan Erikson of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

But he also said the strict measures lend credence to whispers that Cuba is selling Venezuelan oil overseas – something the communist government did with some of the discounted oil it got from the Soviet Union.

“It’s been alleged they’ve been selling Venezuelan oil on the side. They’ve denied that, but if they are open to doing it, now would be the time,” Erikson said. “Cuba’s in a real cash crunch.”

Beginning June 1, the government ordered energy conservation measures as part of a broader plan to cut the national budget by 6 percent. Central planners also announced Friday they were revising their economic growth projections downward, from 2.5 percent to 1.7 percent. As recently as December, they had projected 6 percent economic growth in Cuba.

These days, most countries would cheer any economic growth. But Cuba counts what it spends on free health care and education, monthly food rations and other social programs as production – making economic growth figures dubious.

Since Cubans have no income or resources to tax, the government in effect is taxing its citizens by cutting the services and products they can consume. Just lovely.

It is also worth asking whether the average Cuban thinks health care and education are “free,” when they are “paying” for it by doing without defenses against the summer heat and eating less. P.J. O’Rourke’s smart-aleck remark about statist medicine (“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free”) comes to mind. The other thought is that, using typical establishment media parlance, women, children, and the elderly must be among those who are most affected by the island nation’s austere situation.

We also see from the Cuban example that there might be an ulterior motive in forcing state-run health care into the US. If costs spiral out of control upon enactment, as is expected, the value of services rendered will go up for a while, increasing the country’s gross domestic product in what may perhaps be the only way remaining at that point to demonstrate any kind of meaningful economic growth.

As is said in the Guinness Beer commercials: “Brilliant!”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

From My Favorite Gold Star Dad…

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 2:59 pm

Mr. Jeffers, I’m glad that you and the United States Army are on our side!

His latest:

The last 193 days have been interesting, perilous, maddening, rewarding, and…well I’m sure I could go on.

If all goes as planned you will wake up Monday morning and a wonderful thing will happen in the House of Representatives.

It will be empty.

And if God truly blesses America in August, the same thing will be happening in the Senate the following Monday.

It too will be empty.

…When it comes to Obama care, please visit Peter Fleckenstein’s, former Marine from Phoenix, Arizona, blog Common Sense from a Common Man where Pete has done yeoman’s work in detailing the monstrosity that is Obamacare.

Become very familiar with the nonsensical and liberty-stripping measures that are included in this bill.

Then attend any public meetings that your US Representative and/or US Senators are holding and ask them which of these ridiculous measures they support.

And do not be surprised by the thousand yard stare they give you.

Most of them will probably never admit it but they are more than likely in agreement with John Conyer’s statement about reading the bill.

Also read both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, no matter how many times you have read both.

Go rent, or better yet, buy the HBO DVD series and soundtrack “John Adams.” It will inspire you.

…Even though Congress is in recess they can, just like kids on a school playground, cause trouble.

The whole thing is here.

NBRA Chair Frances Rice Nails It…

Filed under: Activism,Education,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 2:56 pm

Lt. Col. Rice, I’m also glad that YOU, the NBRA and the United States Army are on our side!

By Frances Rice

How do we decide who is a racist? The dictionary tells us a racist harbors feelings of antagonism and superiority based on biological differences, such as skin color. So, what demonstrates that President Barack Obama harbors such feelings toward white people?

…In “Dreams from My Father” Obama wrote: “I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.” This book also contains an explanation of why Obama joined and remained for 20 years in Trinity United Church of Christ, the church of black liberation theologian Rev. Jeremiah Wright who preached hatred against whites. Obama wrote: “It came about as a choice and not an epiphany”. The core of black liberation theology is black separatism, a movement that, for more than a century, has been opposed to racial integration. Equally troubling is Obama’s church giving a lifetime award to one of our nation’s most racist men, Louis Farrakhan.

Obama’s belief system on race was on full display during the 2008 campaign when, on a Philadelphia radio sports program, he described his grandmother as a “typical white person” who fears blacks.

From the roots of Obama’s enmity toward white people sprang his gratuitous attack on Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley. Obama declared that the sergeant “acted stupidly” while doing his duty, when all Obama knew, admittedly, was that the sergeant was white and the person arrested, Obama’s friend Harvard Processor Henry Gates, was black. Without bothering to learn the facts, Obama used the power of his position as President of the United States to demonize an American citizen because of his race.

…Obama, in his rush to judgment, ignored pertinent facts, such as one of the arresting officers is black, the Cambridge Mayor is black and the Massachusetts Governor is black. From his lofty perch as the leader of the free world, Obama focused like a laser beam on the skin color of one man and engaged in grievance mongering about “racial profiling,” a charge that hampers law enforcement in black communities and was not even a factor in the Cambridge case. In an instant, Obama abandoned any pretense of being “post racial” and, before our very eyes, was transformed into our “race-baiter-in-chief”.

How ironic that the wrongs against blacks that are the genesis of Obama’s racial hostility were committed by the whites who supported the racist agenda of the Democratic Party (not that many years ago), the party Obama now heads. During his research, author Wayne Perryman uncovered documents which reveal that the Democratic Party was once proudly called the “Party of White Supremacy”. According to Perryman, Democratic Party campaign posters issued from 1868 to the early 1900’s declared: “This is a white man’s country – let the white man rule”. Perryman further pointed out that Democratic Senator Ben Tillman in 1909 said: “We reorganized the Democratic Party with one plank and only one plank, namely, that this is a white man’s country and the white men must govern it.”

…The intimidation tactics by Black Panthers are a chilling reminder about how the Democrats not long ago used the Ku Klux Klan, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party, to intimidate and terrorize Republican voters, black and white. Democratic Party racism is precisely what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Republican, was fighting against. In Obama’s world, the civil rights accomplishments of Dr. King have been abandoned, and we are now encouraged to judge people by the color of their skin, not the content of their character.

Read the whole thing here.

2Q09 GDP Down an Annualized 1.0%; BEA Does Massive Comprehensive Update

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:26 am

Uncle Sam’s lengthy report is here.

Given the comprehensive revision (apparently all the way back to 1929?) and the need to reconcile some clearly conflicting numbers, comments will have to come later.

The most obvious reconciliation has to be between the following:
- Full year 2008 growth: revised to +0.4%.
- Individual quarterly 2008 growth:
— First quarter , -0.7%
— Second quarter, +1.5%
— Third quarter, which still marks the beginning of the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy, -2.1%
— Fourth quarter, -5.4%

2008′s annual growth can’t be the old number, which would have been about -0.5% (result of +0.9, +2.8, -0.5, and -6.3), and it’s obviously not the result of combining the new numbers.

You don’t have to be a math whiz to be able to tell that the numbers are currently inconsistent. So I’ll wait until something is updated or I’m able to get other answers before commenting further.

Other items of note in the quarterlies:

  • 4Q07 moved from negative to positive (+2.1%), which would lead one to question the “official” recession starting point of Dec. 2007.
  • 1Q08 went negative (from +0.9% to -0.7%).
  • The second quarter of 2008′s +1.5%, assuming it stands, is still positive enough to ward off the idea that we were presumptively in recession then, absent sufficiently compelling evidence from elsewhere.
  • The previous two three points lend more credence to a non-recessionary mini-dip followed by a real, rip-roaring recession as normal people define it beginning in the third quarter of 2008.
  • 3Q-2000, which I think had been -1.4%, went positive.

Update: Reax is here, pegged to a Wall Street Journal editorial.