September 3, 2009

Here We Go Again: Corrupt PA Judges Not Tagged As Dems


Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan are Democrats. Is it okay to write that? Apparently, it’s not in an establishment media report, based on the last six months of coverage of these two corrupt Pennsylvania judges.

In February (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the Associated Press ran a story about two Pennsylvania judges “charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers,” and and initially told readers that “Both are Democrats.”

But AP removed the judges’ party affiliation from a subsequent version of the story (graphic proof comes later in the post), even though the later rendition added many other details in the case. This of course begged the question of why AP did what they did, especially since the wire service’s Stylebook says the following about identifying party affiliation:

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.

The idea that readers, especially those outside of Pennsylvania, would not be curious about the political affiliations of former judges Ciavarella and Conahan is absurd on its face.

Since that initial journalistic failure, there has been a media wall of silence about the party affiliations of the two men:

  • A July 31 AP story (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) continued the see-no-Democrats story.
  • The July 27 New York Times ran a story (HT Reason’s Hit & Run) about how many of the 6,500 juveniles detained — many if not most unjustly, based on their offenses and criminal histories — were on the verge of having their records destroyed, hampering their ability to pursue litigation over their treatment. No mention of the two former judges’ party appeared.
  • Last week, the local area (HT to Reason, again) ran a story about how the judges were withdrawing their guilty pleas. The judge overseeing their case has not been seeing a lot of remorse from the two disgraced men, or even any willingness to completely admit to the facts of what they did, and thus has been refusing to accept their proposal for seven-year sentences. Though you might argue that a local story carries no party-ID requirement because people in the area supposedly know it already (doubtful, in my opinion), the men were not ID’d as Dems.
  • The Associated Press story doesn’t have the local-reader excuse available. A brief story that went over the AP’s national wire did not identify Ciavarella or Conahan as Democrats.

Here’s the original graphic comparison of the initial and subsequent AP reports:


As I have noted in previous posts — “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.”

The first decision to identify the party of the two cretins was the right one. Every call since, at least among those I have seen (including Reason’s) has been wrong. It is highly doubtful, if the judges had been Republicans, that the press would be so accommodating as to hide their party affiliations so consistently and for such a long period of time — especially after initially spilling the beans.

Cross-posted at

A Well-Done Vid on Salary Caps and Energy Caps

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:06 pm

From the American Energy Alliance:

AEA could have gone further, because our “caps” have to be reduced, year after year after year, to achieve the long-term cap and trade legislation’s mandates of “a 17-percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and a 83-percent cut by 2050.”

Meanwhile, much of the rest of the world, particularly the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) will march on with no constraints. Their emissions increases would dwarf any reductions this country might achieve.

If you consciously went about planning the destruction of the U.S. economy as we know it, you couldn’t do a better job. Maybe that’s really the intent.

ED.GOV Media Advisory Group Needs Spellchecker

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:22 pm

Actually, they should just know how to spell a word like “schoolchildren.”

Yours truly is not exactly perfect on this front, but I think I would have caught the error noted below (since fixed) — or if I had blog editors, which I don’t (other than patient readers), they would have caught it quite quickly:


This advisory was up for quite a while before it was corrected.

Perhaps while they’re fixing things, before his indoctrination exercise this coming Tuesday, DOE can remind the president, in case he hasn’t figured it out in the past 16 months, how many states are in the union.

Related: Via Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters – ”Flashback 1991: Gephardt (and other Democrats) Called Bush’s Speech to Students ‘Paid Political Advertising’”

Update: Well, not everything has been fixed — this is from the White House:


“Schoolchildren” is one word, guys.

ISM Non Manufacturing Index: Still in Contraction, As Are Both ISM Indices Combined

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:15 pm

The good news is that the Institute for Supply Management’s Non-Manufacturing Index went up from 46.4% in July to 48.4% in August.

The not-so-good news is that the index, because it remains below 50%, still shows contraction.

The other not-so-good news is that the ISM’s indices, proportionally combined, still show contraction, though not by much:

Manufacturing (.15 x 52.9) plus Non Manufacturing (.85 x 48.4) = 7.94 + 41.14 = 49.08.

The employment element of each index is still in contraction (46.4% for Manufacturing and 43.5% for Non Manufacturing).

There was quite a leap in the prices element of the Non Manufacturing Index from a downward-leaning 41.3% in July to an upward-looking 63.1% in August. August’s price reading in Manufacturing was 65.0%. I hope not, because we are so not in a position to handle it well, but there may be some serious inflation brewing.

Lucid Links (090309, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:45 am

Tom Daschle, the guy with the $100,000-plus in tax “problems” that kept him from becoming head of HHS, lectures us today in the Wall Street Journal about passing “meaningful health reform.”

He says that the goals “should be to expand coverage, reduce projected costs, improve health-system quality, and enhance health-care options for all Americans.”

Too bad the various iterations of ObamaCare floating around Washington meet at best about 1/3 of the first goal (per the Congressional Budget Office); definitely don’t accomplish the second (per CBO, again) or third; and are deliberately designed to eventually herd us all into a state-run plan in direct contradiction to the fourth.

As to the third, “improve health-system quality,” the former South Dakota senator brazenly lies through his teeth when he claims that our health care system is “dead last among all industrialized countries when it comes to outcomes.” Tell that to cancer patients, Puff.


If I expect anything from President Obama’s “special” address to Congress next Wednesday, it’s that he will invoke what Warner Todd Huston described as the “newest ObamaCare messaging” — that passing ObamaCare-like health care legislation is, as the aforementioned Daschle intoned in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “a moral imperative.”

Sorry, Barry et al, that high ground is taken, and it dictates against ObamaCare in the strongest of terms, as I detailed in “ObamaCare as a Moral Clunker” several weeks ago:

First — Virtually without exception worldwide, state-run health care has led to rationing of care and long waits for even critical services. This has led to many needless deaths and disabilities, along with greatly diminished quality of life for many who eventually do receive care. Obama and the Congressional majority have presented no evidence indicating that serious rationing will not occur under its plan. In fact, under its progenitor known as CommonwealthCare aka RomneyCare in Massachusetts, serious rationing under the guise of fixed per-patient budgets is already on the horizon. How can any compassionate person claiming to have his or her moral bearings even consider supporting this almost certain result?

Second — Virtually without exception worldwide, state-run health care has led to denial of care on age-based and so-called qualify of life criteria. The Obama administration and Congress already opened the door for this abomination in the stimulus bill passed in February when it included funding for “comparative effectiveness research.” Michael Barone has accurately portrayed this attempt at final solutions that override doctor-patient decisions as “worse than junk science—it’s inherently deceptive.” How can someone claiming to have his or her moral bearings even consider supporting this?

Finally — The Obama administration is stacked with czars, Cabinet officials, and others who are enthusiastic supporters of the first two items, and who have frighteningly ghoulish outlooks on life and humanity. Take John Holdren (please). Many of these same people and others with similar “philosophies” would take responsible positions within ObamaCare’s maze, and would no doubt stay on as long as possible regardless of who controls the White House or Congress. How can someone claiming to have his or her moral bearings even consider allowing these people anywhere near the nation’s health care system?

The exclamation point on the final item would be the views of Obama adviser “Zeke the Bleak” Emanuel.

And I didn’t even get to abortion, which is in there, or blank-check coverage of illegal immigrants, which is in there.

Thus, for overwhelming reasons, the “moral imperative” is to stop this statist power grab. There are tons of ways to improve health care — John Mackey hit a lot of the good ones a few weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal — and they mostly involve enhancing freedom, not stealing it; and more private-sector involvement, not a deliberately predestined end to it.


The late Ted Kennedy, politicking to the end, tried to sucker the Pope into endorsing ObamaCare. Seriously:

In his private letter to Pope Benedict XVI, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said he “fell short” as a faithful Catholic. According to excerpts read at his funeral, the late Senator wrote before his death that though he had “fallen short,” he had always believed in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The letter, reportedly six pages long, was hand-delivered by President Barack Obama to the Holy Father last July. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, an archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., revealed some of the letter’s contents late on Saturday at Sen. Kennedy’s graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery.

…. “I also want you to know that even though I am ill,” the letter continued, “I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life.”

This looks from here to be an attempt to draw the Pope into some kind of sympathetic response that could be spun as support for statist health care.

The Pope was clearly having none of it:

Cardinal McCarrick also read during the Rite of Committal the response to the Senator’s letter from a Vatican official, who confirmed that “the Holy Father has read the letter which you entrusted to President Barack Obama” and informed the Senator that “His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God our merciful Father.”

Of course, I fervently wish that Mr. Kennedy indeed made that “joyful surrender” in his final days. That it did not occur during his public life is a well-established, inarguable fact.

Positivity: Good Samaritan Saves NYC Teen From Predator

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:23 am

From Staten Island, New York (video is at link):

Aug 29, 2009 6:14 am US/Eastern

Staten Island Girl Pulled Into Woods In Attempted Abduction; Neighbor Heard Screams, Saved Victim

He’s an everyday hero who doesn’t want the title.

A Staten Island man came to the rescue of a teenaged girl, just as she was being abducted. But this Good Samaritan says he would have done the same for anybody in need.

“I’m not a hero, I did what I had to do,” Patrick Klatt said. “The girl needed help and I was there. I was lucky I heard her.”

Klatt heard the muffled cries of a 15-year-old girl. She was walking along Cleveland Avenue Thursday night when she was dragged into the nearby woods.

“She was actually headed to a friend’s house,” father Jay Reyes said. “She heard him running behind her. As she turned, he was already at her.”

Klatt was inside his home when he heard the girl try to scream.

“I just looked out the screen door, and I could see her being pushed through the weeds,” Klatt said. “I knew right away, by the sound of her voice, she was in trouble.”

Klatt ran into the woods with a bat and pulled the girl to safety, much to the relief of the victim’s parents.

“He saved her life,” mother Caroline Foster-Reyes said. “He saved her life. We owe everything to him.”

“This guys is, as far as I’m concerned, he’s a hero,” Jay Reyes said.

Klatt can relate – he has a 19-year-old daughter himself – and he says he doesn’t let her go anywhere alone. Daughter Dianna says her father is an inspiration.

“Hopefully this does bring light to other people, that maybe they’ll help others if they see something going on,” Dianna said. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.