May 7, 2010

Name That Party: Toledo Blade’s Provance Highlights ‘Republican Scandal’ In Sentencing of Dem Former Ohio AG

DannnamethatpartyColumbus Bureau Chief Jim Provance at the Toledo Blade is a one-man “Name That Party” creativity machine:

  • In March of last year (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in a story about late financial reports from Ohio’s state government, Provance identified State Auditor Mary Taylor, who criticized Governor Ted Strickland’s administration for being so tardy with the numbers that they could not be audited in time for biennial budget deliberations — but never identified Strickland or anyone else involved in the snafu as a Democrat. NewsBusters commenter “Hoosierem reported that Provance, in response to a subsequent e-mail, had stated that “I should have taken the next step of noting the governor’s party.”
  • Then in May (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the slow-learning Blade reporter, in a story about the indictment of Anthony Gutierrez, a former aide to disgraced Democrat and former Attorney General Marc Dann (pictured at top right in a Blade photo), never named Guttierez’s party — but did name the party of the county prosecutor who indicted him.

Provance’s latest exercise in Name That Party creativity (HT to Maggie Thurber in an e-mail) revolves around Dann’s guilty pleas on Thursday to ethics violations. This time, he got in a “clever” dig about Republican scandals going back a half-decade in his opening sentence, but never specifically ID’d Dann as a Democrat, referring only to “a Democratic wave” and “fellow Democrats” — in Paragraph 11.

Here are the relevant excerpts from Provance’s presumptive prose:

Ex-Ohio Attorney General Dann admits guilt on 2 counts

Marc Dann, who rode Republican scandal into statewide office four years ago, stood before a judge himself Friday and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor ethics violations that will keep him from holding a public job for seven years.

The usually defiant and combative Mr. Dann, who resigned in disgrace just 16 months into his tenure as Ohio attorney general, told the judge he accepted responsibility, but outside the courtroom he questioned the resources put into the two-year investigation of him.

“As you can see from the types of things that I was ultimately charged with, certainly the expenditures on the investigation were out of proportion to the alleged conduct,” Mr. Dann said. “But I do take responsibility. I should have exercised better oversight and stronger oversight, and I didn’t.”

He was fined a total of $1,000 for the two charges and ordered to pay court costs and serve 500 hours of community service for improperly providing money from his campaign and inaugural committees to two aides and friends for unofficial use and for filing a false financial disclosure report that omitted additional sources of income.

(Skip to Paragraph 10)

… Now Mr. Dann is worried about losing a law license at a time when he is trying to re-establish a private practice and is facing a very public divorce.

He had said previously that he even surprised himself when he defeated veteran Republican Betty Montgomery in 2006, riding a Democratic wave that washed the GOP out of every statewide executive office save one. A year and a half later, he was pressured by Republicans and fellow Democrats to resign after Mr. Gutierrez was accused of sexual harassment by two female employees, allegations largely substantiated by an internal investigation.

When the results of that investigation were announced, Mr. Dann confessed to having had his own consensual, extramarital affair with his office scheduler, an affair that he said may have set a poor example for others in his office.

Provance’s claim that Dann’s victory in November 2006 was the result of “Republican scandal” is extremely shaky, given that 2006 was generally a good year Democrats. Strickland defeated GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell, who had been a maverick in Bob Taft’s administration while serving as Secretary of State and was not tainted by the Taft’s ethical violations, by over 20 points. Dann won by 5. It’s highly doubtful that Dann’s promises to be clean and ethical were anywhere near as important as the Strickland campaign’s promises to “Turnaround Ohio,” meaning the state’s then suffering economy. After three years with Strickland, that economy is now seriously ailing.

Speaking of Strickland, his name (naturally) never comes up in Provance’s piece.

Anyway, heckuva Job, Jimbo. You’ll have to excuse me if I have a hard time believing that you’re even trying to play it straight.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Econ Catch-up, and the April Employment Situation Report (050710)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:28 am

Catch-up:

  • The Institute for Supply Management’s indices had another very good month overall, with the Manufacturing Index (roughly 15% of the economy) coming in at 60.4% (up from 59.6% the previous month) and the Non Manufacturing Index (NMI, the other 85%) recording a 55.4% (the same as March). Any reading above 50% indicates expansion. The Manufacturing Index’s empoyment component was solidly in expansion mode, while the NMI’s employment component was still barely in contraction, and has been in that mode for 28 months.
  • Vehicle sales were up almost 20% in April 2010 over April 2009, but it’s easy to forget that last year was exceptionally awful (down 34% from April 2008). Doing the math shows that April 2010′s results were over 20% lower than April 2008 (April 2009′s .66 times 1.2 equals .792, or a 20.8% drop from ’08).
  • Durable goods news was upbeat, especially looking at the not seasonally adjusted numbers.

Employment report run-up:

  • ADP’s report came in at +32,000 private sector jobs added. Thanks to revisions to previous months, ADP has shown modest increases for three consecutive months (+3K for Feb., +19K for March).
  • This WSJ report carries a prediction of 180,000 jobs added, with the unemployment rate staying the same at 9.7%; it says a 0.1% uptick to 9.8% “cannot be ruled out.”
  • This Bloomberg report at Business Week has a wide range of predictions (between +75K and +300K for jobs, and 9.5% to 9.8% for unemployment), and a consensus of 100,000 private-sector jobs added.

Readers here know that I think focusing on the actual (not seasonally adjusted, or NSA) job changes is where the action really is, so stay tuned for that later this morning after the government’s report, which focuses on seasonally adjusted (SA) figures, comes out at 8:30.

The News:

Well, this is the classic mixed bag:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 290,000 in April, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.9 percent, and the labor force increased sharply, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in manufacturing, professional and business services, health care, and leisure and hospitality. Federal government employment also rose, reflecting continued hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010.

… The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from -14,000 to +39,000, and the change for March was revised from 162,000 to 230,000.

So we have a depressing higher unemployment rate accompanied by impressive (seasonally adjusted) cumulative job gains of 411,000 (April’s 290K plus Feb. and March’s changes of +53K and +68K).

As noted, more will come later.

_________________________________________________

UPDATE: Thanks to rounding in different directions, the unemployment rate increase is not as bad as it seems. Using the figures at the bottom of this table, the rate went from 9.749% in March to 9.863% in April, a net change of .114%. Also at the same table, the number of people working as used in the unemployment rate calculation (seasonally adjusted) since December’s absolute bottom has increased by a very strong 1.66 million.

As to the job adds from the Establishment Survey used in the official jobs added/lost data, that info is pretty strong too, and is basically back to where it was during the mid-2000s:

BLSjobAddsNSA0410

The only caution is that the BLS’s birth/death model generated a pretty high 188,000 of those 1.158 million jobs.

So it may be that the damage wrought by the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy since June 2008 has ended. But if so, what horrific and mostly avoidable damage it has been.

There is one considerable fly in the ointment here: The jobs added during April didn’t generate as much of an increase in tax receipts as one might expect. Given that federal withholdings from paychecks are mostly due within mere days of when people are paid, that seems out of sync. Additionally, total tax receipts in April, particularly what I have been calling “receipts from economic activity,” came in below April 2009, and wayyyy below April 2008 and 2007 (more details later). Again, that seems out of sync with reported employment and GDP growth.

Trisomy 18 daughter ‘a gift from God,’ former Sen. Rick Santorum writes

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 7:53 am

From Philadelphia:

May 7, 2010 / 01:06 am

His daughter with trisomy 18 is a loving child at the center of his family’s life, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has said. Though she has taught character and virtue to everyone he meets, he lamented that so many children with her condition are aborted or face doctors with a “negative perception” towards the severely disabled.

In a Wednesday column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Santorum told of how he and his wife were aggrieved when doctors told them their newborn child, Isabella Maria, had a condition which was “incompatible with life.”

Their eighth child, Bella was born with trisomy 18, 90 percent of whose victims die before or during birth and 90 percent of survivors die within the first year. Most of those diagnosed in the womb are aborted.

The infant was baptized the same day she was born. Rick Santorum and his wife Karen then spent “every waking hour at her bedside, giving her a lifetime’s worth of love and care,” the former senator wrote. “However, not only did she not die; she came home in just 10 days.”

Bella was placed on home hospice care, but the hospice doctor graphically described how Bella would die. He claimed the best Bella’s parents could hope for was that she would die of the common cold.

The Santorums discontinued hospice care so that they and their doctors could focus on Bella’s health, “not her death.”

Santorum praised his wife’s “night and day” care for Bella and her fight with health care providers and insurance companies to secure care for Bella.

“Being the parent of a special child gives one exceptional insight into the negative perception of the disabled among many medical professionals, particularly when they see your child as having an intellectual disability,” he explained in his Philadelphia Inquirer column.

They had difficulty finding doctors who were both experienced in treating trisomy 18 and who saw Bella not as a fatal diagnosis but as “a wanted and loved daughter and sister, as well as a beautiful gift from God.”

At the age of three months, Bella needed minor but “vital” surgery. Some doctors said she wouldn’t survive surgery or said it was “not recommended” because of her genetic conditions.

“In other words, that her life wasn’t worth saving,” the former Senator interpreted.

The Santorums found Dr. Thane Blinman, who has had several trisomy 18 patients who did well.

Former Sen. Santorum said that Bella’s second birthday will come next week. Despite the “constant anxiety” of two close brushes with death and many sleepless nights, he said his family has been “inspired by her fighting spirit.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Go here for Santorum’s original Philly Inquirer column.

Name That Party: AP Follows Predictable Script in Revealing Former Ohio Dem AG’s Impending Guilty Plea

namethatpartyConsistency, thy name is AP.

The Associated Press’s story roll-out on former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann’s anticipated guilty pleas to ethics violations followed the usual script:

  • The initial report, carried here at Cleveland.com, failed to mention Dann’s Democratic Party affiliation.
  • A later extended report breaks down and reveals Dann’s party membership in its ninth of eleven paragraphs.
  • Meanwhile, the local Columbus Dispatch, which would be less obligated to reveal Dann’s party affiliation because its readership is more likely to already know it, told readers Dann is a Democrat in the second paragraph of its coverage.

The name of Ohio’s governor, Ted Strickland, doesn’t show up anywhere in either entity’s coverage.

Here is most of the AP’s brief initial story by reporter Andrew Welsh-Huggins:

The former Ohio attorney general who resigned after a sexual harassment scandal is expected to plead guilty to ethics violations involving improper payments to staff.

A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation tells The Associated Press that Marc Dann will plead guilty in Franklin County Municipal Court Friday to two misdemeanors.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the charges had not been formally filed.

The charges involve payments Dann made from his campaign fund to staff members for living expenses and a $5,000 loan he made from his elected office’s transition account to a staffer.

In his longer story, Welsh-Huggins did the party avoidance dance until Paragraph 9, missing several obvious opportunities that arose before then:

Dann, a former Youngstown lawyer and Democratic state senator, was elected in 2006 as part of a Democratic sweep of four of five statewide offices. He beat former Attorney General Betty Montgomery, who was trying to win back her position after serving as state auditor for four years. Montgomery, a popular Republican, was historically the top vote-getter in statewide elections.

Dann admitted having an affair with a subordinate and later resigned in May 2008 following a sexual harassment scandal in his office.

At the time the scandal became known, (Leo) Jennings and (Anthony) Gutierrez were sharing the condo with Dann. Investigations found evidence that the three men hosted young female staffers on the premises, sometimes for alcohol-laced pizza parties. One of the alleged harassment incidents took place there.

Meanwhile, James Nash at the Dispatch got to party affiliation pretty quickly:

Former Attorney General Marc Dann is expected to plead guilty Friday to two misdemeanor counts of illegally padding the income of two aides and failing to report some of his own income on disclosure forms.

Dann, a Democrat who resigned after a scandal in his office two years ago, could face as much as a year in prison and $2,000 in fines. He also would be barred from state office for seven years.

The AP story is likely to be read outside of the State of Ohio, which would seem to dictate that it would want to inform readers who otherwise wouldn’t know what party Dann represents. But the wire service has been doing the opposite for so long that one almost can’t help but conclude that it’s deliberate, and that there is not intent to ever change — which mandates that it be exposed here so that at least a few readers outside of Ohio get the full truth.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.