December 29, 2009

Wrapping Up 2009′s Search for Christmas (Year 5)

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 1:02 pm

This is the fifth year I have looked into how the media treats these two topics:

  • The use of “Christmas shopping season” vs. “holiday shopping season” (note how the AP photo at right uses “holiday” and not “shopping,” even though there is a C-C-, Chr-Chr-Christmas tree in the picture).
  • The frequency of Christmas and holiday layoff references.

I have done three sets of simple Google News searches each year — the first in late November, followed by identical searches roughly two and four weeks later. The results of this year’s first two sets of searches are here (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog) and here (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog).

A table showing the results from this year, plus key comparisons to prior years, follows:

XmasComparisons2009

Looking at this year by itself, the proportion of references to the “Christmas shopping season” increased steadily from just before Thanksgiving to just before Christmas, but were a woeful 9.1% of all combined results. Google News search references to Christmas in stories about layoffs were proportionally four times more frequent than they were in stories about shopping (36.9% vs. 9.1%).

Comparing to prior years, while the “Christmas shopping season” percentage of all “shopping season” searches held steady from 2005 to 2007, it has dropped from 12.2% to this year’s 9.1%. That’s a 25% drop in just the past two years. If that 1.5-point drop average yearly drop continues, we will find no references to the “Christmas shopping season” in about a half-dozen years.

The results relating to “layoffs” are doubly relevant:

  • First, this year’s percentage of references to Christmas in layoff stories returned to its 2007 level.
  • More important, the absolute number of layoff references this year was down 88% from a year ago. Even after considering that Google News (and probably the economy itself) have pruned the number of news results by about half, the number of references to layoffs dropped by roughly 75%. “Somehow” this is the case even though the unemployment rate is several percentage points higher than it was a year ago. The number of layoffs occurring certainly hasn’t dropped by that much.

Sadly, this year’s search results show a continuing trend towards having the word “Christmas” become disassociated from stories about the gift-giving season, while keeping it relatively visible in dispatches about job losses.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Imelda Obama

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:05 am

From May:

MichelleObamaShoes0509

From last night (HT Gateway Pundit):

MichelleObamaShoes1209

Besides the obvious point that press sniping about First Ladies of conservative presidents engaging in such extravagance in a difficult economy would be non-stop (as it was in the early 1980s, virtually from Day 1), there’s this Michelle “Imelda” Obama blast from the past from February 2008 in Zanesville, Ohio:

“We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that.”

Purchasing either of the pairs of shoes above would require at least a week’s net pay for many teachers, most nurses, and the vast majority of social workers. Those who choose the professions noted get to feel noble while struggling to make ends meet and hoping against hope that the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy doesn’t send us over the cliff, while Imelda the FLOTUS flaunts her wealth (and gets praised by the fashionistas for doing so).

Double Standard Couture,” indeed.

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UPDATE, Dec. 30: Well, I guess if Barack Obama is greater than Jesus (yes, I know the article is more than likely tongue in cheek or seriously delusional), then it’s not out of bounds for the New York Times to push the slavering meter to 10 on behalf of Michelle (HT Colleen Raezler at NewsBusters) –

In Mrs. Obama, the fashion industry has found a woman it can admire but cannot completely possess. That’s because she doesn’t favor only one designer or a clique, as her predecessors did. Also, she avoids the appearance of being cozy with designers. That’s why she’s often described in terms reserved for a 1930s screen goddess: “regal” and “dazzling,” a woman not to be contended with so much as worshiped from afar.

No wonder Anchoress suspects that Michelle’s husband wanted “to be the King, not the President.”

Lucid Links (122909, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

(begin disclaimer)

First, I’ll admit that I don’t understand how they determine it, that I’m not sure I would agree with it if I did, and that I think they’ve overlooked some factors in their calculations in the past.

(/disclaimer)

(begin insufferable bragging)

That said, this is from BlogNetNews:

BlogNetNewsAvgInfluence122709

I believe this marks the first time all year that an independent blog (as opposed to one that is run by a newspaper or a well-funded “not for profit” activist organization), has come out on top of BlogNetNews’s Ohio 12-week average list.

(/insufferable bragging)

(begin gratitude)

Intense thanks to co-blogger Rose, visitors, commenters, tipsters, correspondents, interviewees, and advertisers who have all contributed to this result.

(there is no end to the gratitude)

_____________________________________________

Yeah, this is Bush’s fault, and to this extent, as explained by Hot Air commenter “Nozzie”:

…. He (Bush) brought a complete stop to the kind of nonsense we saw this weekend…His actions in Afghanistan and Iraq set tens of millions free from evil dictatorships…His administration tried to protect the American people and they were successful by any measure…A few of these losers were released but given the enormous pressure on the Bush administration from every nutcase lawyer at the ACLU, DNC, and a few within the DoD, and liberal Federal judges blocking every effort to administer military justice on these scum, a few were released.

Yes, those who became the Yemeni bombmakers shouldn’t have been released from Gitmo. Update: As usual, Gateway Pundit has much more detail.

But after Bush 43 settled in Texas, at least these things went wrong, are more immediately relevant, and can’t be blamed on him:

  • The State Department shouldn’t have blown two chances to flag Mutallab’s visa with the derogatory information that should have kept him out of the US.
  • Intelligence agencies should have reacted to this incident (perhaps they did, but whatever their response was, it didn’t work).
  • Intelligence agencies should have reacted to the advance warning that was “in a tape released four days before the attempted destruction of the Detroit-bound Northwest plane” (again, maybe they did, but whatever their response was, it didn’t work).

Open questions:

  • Why was the New York Times allowed to tell the world that “U.S. Widens Terror War to Yemen, a Qaeda Bastion,” including specific information like “A year ago, the Central Intelligence Agency sent several of its top field operatives with counterterrorism experience to the country.” Great. The bad guys will have their operatives comb through airline flight and other records to try to identify infiltrators. Thanks, NYT.
  • Assuming that the Flight 253 suspect wasn’t somehow living off of Dad’s money, is it possible that the money-tracking operation the Times exposed over Bush administration objections in 2006, thereby causing its shutdown, could have detected suspicious movements of funds?

_____________________________________________

Did Chinese hackers release the ClimateGate e-mails? It looks more than a little likely.

_____________________________________________

At Pajamas Media“Obama Surrenders U.S. Sovereignty: His INTERPOL Executive Order.”

Related, from last week: “Not News: Obama EO Removes Restrictions on INTERPOL.” It’s still not news in the establishment media, as AP searches on “Interpol” and “executive order” (not in quotes) demonstrate.

_____________________________________________

Tuition Tax Follow-up – Pittsburgh and its Boy Blunder Mayor Luke Ravenstahl have decided not to attempt to impose a 1% tuition tax on Steel City college students, for a troubling reason:

Hizzhoner obtained a promise of increased financial support from academia, nonprofits and the corporate community. But no specific numbers are mentioned. That’s supposedly to be hashed out early in the year by another one of those largely useless “blue ribbon” panels that also will lobby Harrisburg for more state revenues.

Let’s face it: The colleges, including many not-for-profits, agreed to provide supposedly unspecified protection money to ensure that their students won’t get hit directly.

It’s one thing (barely, in my opinion) for them to agree to pay amounts in lieu of property taxes meant to approximate what they would pay if they were for-profits. It’s quite another to “contribute” money to a government for the sole purpose of keeping it off their backs — for the time being. What’s to prevent Loony Luke from threatening a 2% tax next time unless he gets ever larger payments? How can those who run these institutions defend these payments in light of their not-for-profit missions or their state-funded status?

I fear that this “do your fair share (or else)” idea will spread. It needs to be nipped in the bud and squashed like a bug. It’s probably too much to hope for, but because of that concern I’d like to see that January “blue ribbon” panel tell Luke and the city to pound steel.

Positivity: The Airport Wedding, and the Gift That Followed

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

Great, from Corpus Christi, Texas:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Couple Gets Married at Texas Airport

A woman in a wedding gown surprised her fiance by greeting him at a Texas airport along with a justice of the peace.

Robyn Moore and William Acosta exchanged vows Monday at Corpus Christi International Airport after he got off a plane arriving from Toledo, Ohio.

Photos were taken near a Christmas tree at a security checkpoint.

Acosta, who was wearing jeans and a sweater, says he was speechless and thrilled by the wedding Moore planned.

Moore says she and Acosta “spent half our relationship in airports.”

The couple got a marriage license last week and planned to tie the knot this month, at a site to be determined.

Moore and Acosta met in 2008 in Dallas, where she lived and he was on a business trip. They plan to live in Toledo.

Even better, from Orlando, Florida:

Posted on Saturday, 12.26.09

Fla. couple married at airport get free honeymoon

An anonymous veteran is giving a Disney honeymoon to a Florida couple who got married at an airport after a blizzard made the groom miss his wedding.

Shawna Hodge and Army Pvt. Cody Beckwith were supposed to be married last weekend in Orlando. A blizzard stranded Beckwith in Baltimore, and the only flight back to Florida was going to Tampa.

Hodge surprised Beckwith at Tampa International Airport on Monday in her wedding dress, with the rest of their wedding party behind her.

Hodge says the couple didn’t have plans or the money for a honeymoon until the business manager at Walt Disney World’s Shades of Green Resort called. The manager offered a three-night stay, including meals and park tickets.

A card only identified the donor as “a Vietnam vet and his wife.”