July 18, 2010

The Todd-Obama Interview: AP Misquotes Prez, Transcript Omits Reference to Gibbs Statement on Nov. Elections

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:18 pm

ObamaTodd0715Geez, can’t anybody here play this game?

During his visit to Holland, Michigan on Thursday, President Obama spoke with NBC’s Chuck Todd. NBC aired the interview on the NBC Nightly News and The Today Show.

In reporting on that interview, the Associated Press quoted the President as telling “NBC” (i.e., Todd) that midterm congressional election results could come down to “a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and my policies that got us out of this mess.” I prepared a post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that relied on the AP’s quote. It turns out that the AP misquoted the President. I’ll get to what Obama really said shortly.

But there is a also a significant omission in the transcript of the interview carried at the Page, Mark Halperin’s blog at Time/CNN. I wouldn’t know whether NBC, its transcription service, or the White House is responsible for it, but portions of Todd’s questions relating to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’s acknowledgment that Democrats could lose control of the House in this fall’s congressional elections are missing.

Both errors are visible in revisions I have a made to the relevant portion of the transcript that follows (the original video is here for those who wish to hear it for themselves; excerpted portion begins at about the 7:55 mark):


The transcription error, as noted in comparing the yellow-boxed text at the right to the original text on the left visible through the cross-out, is that Todd’s references to Gibbs and to “enough seats” being in play aren’t there.

Of all the things not to show up in a transcript, it “just happens” to be one relating to a possible source of tension between the President and his Press Secretary — something that might inform readers who might not otherwise realize it that the party in charge of Congress could change this fall. How serendipitous for Team Obama.

The AP’s error is underlined in red near the end of the excerpt. Obama did not say, as AP reported, that “my policies got us out of this mess.” He said that they “are getting us out of this mess.” Whether that assertion is true is clearly debatable, but the relevant point at the moment is that AP gave readers, including yours truly, the false impression that the President was already declaring victory over “the mess.” Accordingly, I have added “Modified in Subsequent Post” to the original titles at Friday’s NewsBusters and BizzyBlog posts, and have added an introductory update explaining the situation and pointing to this post at each.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

They Should Have Paid Attention To Us, Part _______ (Fill in the Blank)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:16 am

From Mort Zuckerman at US News (HT Hot Air via Instapundit):

Obama’s Anti-Business Policies Are Our Economic Katrina
His gratuitous and overstated demonization of business is exactly the wrong approach

Read the whole thing. It’s a great dissection of the situation and a bit of a tribute to American economic exceptionalism … from a guy who voted for Obama, and who either didn’t do his homework or somehow convinced himself that the Democratic Party nominee’s campaign rhetoric would be thown away on Inauguration Day.

Mort, you can’t say that the warnings weren’t out there. You and way too many others refused to pay attention. As a businessperson, you should have recognized the beginning of the economic Katrina when it began — roughly five months prior to the 2008 presidential election.

Yours truly recognized the beginning of the economic Katrina just over two year ago. My name for it was and remains “the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy.”

Of course, the fact that I recognized it isn’t nearly as important as the fact that many entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and investors also recognized it and reacted accordingly. Many of those who didn’t catch on to it in June of 2008 did so a couple of months later when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac imploded and the orchestrated crisis that led to TARP unfolded.

But you missed it, Mort. It was right there in front of your eyes. You only had to be willing to see it. You weren’t.

We could use an “I was wrong, I am sorry” from Zuckerman and a whole host of others.

Is ‘Freedom of Worship’ Designed to Limit ‘Freedom of Religion’?

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:48 am

If not, why has the Obama administration clearly shifted its language?


This catholic.org item by Randy Sly reports on a very important observation by those whose business it is to watch the trend and tenor of official discourse. It is good that the astute Matt Drudge has ascertained its significance, because their observation deserves much wider attention than it has received thus far.

Before getting to the article, let’s start with the Constitution’s First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What is at issue is the meaning of “the free exercise thereof.” Sly’s piece reports on a subtle linguistic shift by the Obama administration seemingly designed and possibly destined to limit the meaning of that phrase if it gains universal currency (internal links added by me):

Minor Changes in Language Could Mean Major Changes in Religious Freedom
Words matter – listen carefully to our current administration

Since the initially strong language on religious freedom used in President Obama’s Cairo speech, presidential references to religious freedom have become rare, often replaced, at most, with references to freedom of worship. A purposeful change in language could mean a much narrower view of the right to religious freedom.

The change in language was barely noticeable to the average citizen but political observers are raising red flags at the use of a new term “freedom of worship” by President Obama and Secretary Clinton as a replacement for the term freedom of religion. This shift happened between the President’s speech in Cairo where he showcased America’s freedom of religion and his appearance in November at a memorial for the victims of Fort Hood, where he specifically used the term “freedom of worship.” From that point on, it has become the term of choice for the president and Clinton.

In her article for “First Things” magazine, Ashley Samelson, International Programs Director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, stated, “To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling: “The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It’s about the right to dress according to one’s religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don’t go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves-yet “freedom of worship” would protect none of these acts of faith.”

… Let’s be clear … language matters when it comes to defining freedoms and limits. A shift from freedom of religion to freedom of worship moves the dialog from the world stage into the physical confines of a church, temple, synagogue or mosque. Such limitations can unleash an unbridled initiative that we have only experienced in a mild way through actions determined to remove of roadside crosses, wearing of religious t-shirts and pro-life pins as well as any initiatives of evangelization. It also could exclude our right to raise our children in our faith, the right to religious education, literature or media, the right to raise funds or organize charitable activities and the right to express religious beliefs in the normal discourse of life.

… religion permeates the very fabric of our lives. It cannot and should not be separated into approved and non-approved expressions. Unfortunately, such limits are being instituted across the globe.

… Michelle Boorstein (Feb. 9, 2010), religion reporter for the Washington Post, notes that “Knox Thames, director of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom — a Congress-controlled body tasked with monitoring religious freedom abroad – spoke at a recent briefing about the worry, reportedly saying he sees a change in lingo and that it’s not an accident.”

In presenting a forecast of religious freedom for 2010 to the House Subcommittee on International Religions, Human Rights and Oversight, Georgetown professor Thomas Farr stated, “Those of us in the business of sniffing out rats know that this is a rhetorical shift to watch.” Farr was the former head of the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Office.

Human rights lawyer Nina Shea, who is a Senior Scholar at the Hudson Institute, is also concerned. “I’m very fearful that by building bridges, we’re actually stepping away from this fundamental principle of religious freedom.

What may seem an innocent shift in language now could possibly end up as a “tipping point” for our religious freedom. Make no mistake; this is the goal and desire of the many inside and outside our current administration.

Exactly. Statists would like nothing more than to be able to mandate that people can worship as they please on their designated day of the week, but that they can’t bring their religious views or expressions into their public lives during the rest of it.

Imagine some of the potential implications:

  • You’re a pharmacist. You don’t believe in dispensing drugs that you believe are de facto abortifacients (actually, it’s not a matter of belief, it’s a matter of science; they ARE abortifacients). Too bad. If you want to remain a pharmacist, dispensing those drugs is part of your professional duties. If you don’t like it, you have to stop being a pharmacist.
  • You’re a doctor or nurse. You won’t participate in abortion procedures. Sorry, yes you will if you are told to do so. If you refuse, you can be fired and lose your license to practice; your defense that it’s against your religious beliefs and your conscience is useless.
  • You’re an NHS nurse in the UK. You’ve worn a cross for decades while you work. Your bosses demand that you remove it or stop being a practicing nurse. Despite your appeals and broad public support, they win. (This happened; however, “Under the Trust’s current uniform policy, however, one can wear a hijab for religious reasons but not a cross.”)
  • Your religion-based belief is that homosexual sex is sinful, and you try to demand that your child be kept away from public school sex-ed lessons that claim it’s OK. Too bad, so sad; your child has to sit through it, and had better not utter any objections during the presentation. Oh, and there’s a test on which the only “correct” answers are the secular ones …

The state becomes your “conscience” in your daily life. You get to have your own conscience when you worship, and (perhaps) in your private moments.

The “freedom of worship” crowd seems to believe that “the free exercise” of religion only applies when you’re in church or in truly private situations. What else explains the clear linguisitc shift?

The development is every bit as dangerous as those who are sounding the alarm claim it to be.

Positivity: Catholic couple takes faith on the road

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:29 am

From Providence, Rhode Island, and many other places:

Jul 17, 2010 / 01:15 pm

“Many people define themselves by their job,” says Ann Coakley. “We believe that it is most important to define ourselves first and foremost as children of God, and that jobs are only a means of service and providing for our basic needs.”

Paul and Ann Coakley wanted to start their life together with as little debt as possible, so Paul took a job with a trucking company shortly before their wedding. They decided that it would be a great way to pay off their student loans, spend time together and see the country. Being on the road has been a great blessing to the Coakleys.

Paul began driving a truck in January of 2008. Ann joined him on the road after their wedding that May, and they have been traveling together ever since.

“To us it has been like a two year honeymoon! We get to be together all the time,” she said. “We’ve driven through 40 states while trucking and have made several trips up into Canada. We stop at museums, wander around small towns and go camping or kayaking whenever we have the chance. There have been mornings when we’ve woken up and seen that snow has fallen on the Mojave Desert or flowers are popping out of the melting snow in Vermont.”

Thanks to trucking, Ann and Paul have been able to see all of New England. They even stopped at Rhode Island’s one and only truck stop.

“Paul and I love driving through New England not only because of the beautiful foliage, but also because of how picturesque each town and farm is,” Ann said. “We’ve rolled through tiny frost- covered New England towns early in the morning and always roll down our windows to breath in the scent of chimney smoke and brewing Green Mountain coffee at little diners and coffee shops.”

Before trucking Paul and Ann were able to attend daily Mass on a regular basis. They would go to adoration together and join other young people for prayer groups. But once they started trucking it was really only possible to attend Sunday Mass.

“We’ve really missed those things, especially being part of a community,” she said. “Now, there are times when we’ve had to walk five miles to get to church because of where we have to park our truck. During the summer we’ve come into Mass hot and sticky from walking from a truck stop. Rainy or snowy days always keep things interesting.”

Ann explained that going to a different parish each Sunday can be fun. They have gone to large stone cathedrals and small, white New England clapboard churches. They have heard amazing homilies and have had strangers welcome them with open arms.

“We’ve spent the last two Christmases on the road and were blessed by the warmth and familiarity of Christmas Mass,” she shared. “It is a beautiful thing to be able to go anywhere and experience something as familiar as the Liturgy of the Mass and to be able to appreciate the uniqueness of each parish at the same time.”

When Ann first joined Paul, she explained that she was nervous about many aspects of life on the road. “There seemed to be so many unknowns when it came to trucking,” she said. “The life of a trucker was a mystery to me, but once I was there with Paul things worked out much better than I expected- except that even after two years on the road it can still be frustrating trying to find a place to pull over an 18-wheeler when you need to use the bathroom.”

The couple explained that they haul loads of almost anything and everything anywhere.

“The coolest load we’ve ever had was delivering a truck full of castings of dinosaur bones to a museum that was opening in San Antonio, Texas,” Ann said. “The people that worked at the museum were so excited that as each crate was unloaded they would unpack them immediately and lay out the bones to look at.”

Their two-year-long trucking honeymoon has allowed them to live simply so that they could pay off their student loans quickly, but now God is leading them in a different and exciting direction. Paul and Ann will be finishing trucking soon and beginning to help her parents with their small Catholic publishing company, Precious Life Books. …

Go here for the rest of the story.