October 3, 2010

Sunday Night Live: ‘Panic in Detroit’

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:22 pm

Now that the market share at Government/General Motors has tumbled to 18%, a full point below its own stated target, Mickey Kaus nails it (HT Instapundit) in a Newsweek item on the prospects for GM’s post-election IPO (internal links are in original; bold is mine):

But isn’t it looking increasingly like the IPO is in trouble? I’m not a Wall Street expert, but I can read the papers. The IPO’s already been scaled back, apparently, to the point where taxpayers may not unload enough shares to put them under the 50 percent mark. The global economy is iffy. GM has just abruptly switched CEOs . Its balance sheet is “loaded with fluff,” according to Bloomberg. Its own IPO documents admit its “internal control over financial reporting are currently not effective.” UAW locals are restive. And its market share is now seemingly below the target level. (A percentage point of share is a big deal in the auto industry.)

I smell Kabuki! Here’s the increasingly plausible scenario: The IPO was conveniently scheduled for after the November elections because the White House knew there was a good chance it wouldn’t fly. Now they know that with more certainty. But until November 3, the prospect of the big fall sale allows Obama to portray the bailout as on track, minimizing voter disapproval of one of his most unpopular actions.

After the election, GM will discover that, gee, conditions just aren’t ideal, and postpone the whole thing until some later, more auspicious date (which may never come).

The supreme irony, of course is that one of the primary reasons for the GM IPO’s fading prospects is the continuation of the two-plus year-old POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy that drove the company off the cliff in the first place, followed by the summer of “Rebound? What Rebound?

Which explains my Sunday night song choice (“Panic in Detroit” from David Bowie):

Some interesting nuggets from a different YouTube vid with the original studio version of the song:

  • “Bowie wrote the song in a Detroit hotel room during his first major American tour in 1972.”
  • “Bowie’s friend Iggy Pop had spent the night telling tales of Detroit revolutionaries he had known.”
  • “The song was Bowie’s ‘bleak version of America devastated by revolution.’”
  • He sang the song in a much higher key three-plus decades ago (like about half an octave).
  • “If I’m in a very light mood, I find everything in America so kitsch.” said Bowie.
  • “If I’m in a bad mood, I find it terribly repressive and heavy.”

I think he’d be leaning towards “repressive and heavy” these days.

AP’s Elliott Claims ‘One Nation’ Event ‘Tapping into the same anger’ as Tea Party, But Eventually Notes Smaller Crowd

MSNBConeNationAPheadline100210At about 3 p.m. Saturday, one version of the reportage from the Associated Press’s Philip Elliott concerning the “One Nation” rally in Washington opened as follows (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bold is mine):

Tapping into the same anger that fuels the tea party movement, a coalition of progressive and civil rights groups marched Saturday on the Lincoln Memorial and pledged to support Democrats struggling to keep power on Capitol Hill.

Elliott must have realized he had gone way over the top with that one, as he watered it down a bit an hour later (also saved at host): “Tapping into anger as the tea party movement has done …”

Even then, Phil, you’ve got to be kidding me.

This first iteration, which appeared at roughly 3 p.m., was the one used by MSNBC (also saved at host; HT Confederate Yankee), with a bit of sloppiness in the sub-headline, as seen at the top right. MSNBC’s choice to carry this version is not surprising, considering that it didn’t have anything to say about the event’s crowd size, while almost all others did.

But even that version, in referring to the “Restoring Honor” rally held at the same site in late August, contained this little curveball:

Beck and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gathered near the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to urge a vast crowd to embrace traditional values. Though also billed as nonpolitical, the rally was widely viewed as a protest against the policies of President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.

I didn’t come across any AP references to Saturday’s crowd as “vast.”

Elliott’s 4 p.m. rendition added this inconvenient verbiage:

Organizers claimed they had as many participants as Beck’s rally. But Saturday’s crowds were less dense and didn’t reach as far to the edges as they did during Beck’s rally. The National Park Service stopped providing official crowd estimates in the 1990s.

Too bad Phil Elliott isn’t as good at observing different types of anger as he is at noticing different crowd sizes. Geez, just for starters, one group is upset that statist health care was enacted; the other is furious that it isn’t going to be instant single-payer — not exactly “the same anger.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

AP Howler: Organizers Claim ‘One Nation’ Rally Was Planned Before Beck Announced His

OneNationWorkingTogetherLogo1010There are so many problematic items in the establishment press’s treatment of yesterday’s “One Nation” rally in Washington that it’s difficult to know where to begin.

So let’s start at the very beginning. Among the many howlers in the coverage is a claim the Associated Press’s Philip Elliott pass without response towards the end of his 12:21 p.m Saturday report (saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes; bold is mine):

One Nation organizers said that they began planning their event before learning about Beck’s rally and that their march is not in reaction to it.

It would appear that either Elliott felt that this statement would easily withstand scrutiny, and thus performed none himself, or that he knew better, and let it get into his report anyway.

Given the fact that so-called progressives have been continually monitoring Beck’s activities and pronouncements for several years, One Nation’s organizers would have to prove that they began substantively “planning their event” before November 21, 2009. Good luck with that.

Wikipedia’s related entry describes the Restoring Honor rally’s germination as follows:

On November 21, 2009, at The Villages, Florida, Beck announced a rally to be held on August 28, 2010, in Washington, D.C., at the Lincoln Memorial. Beck originally intended the rally as political, and planned to promote his next book, The Plan, in which he would outline a century-long plan to “save the country.” Over the 2009 Christmas holidays, however, Beck decided to publicize the event as being “non-political”, and focus on raising awareness and funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation charity, because soliciting tax-exempt funds to pay for the rally through the charity restricts political activity.

The rally’s Facebook page was founded on on January 20, 2010.

Google News Archive searches on “one nation rally,” “one nation march,” and even “October 2 rally” (all in quotes) between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010 all come up empty. Take your pick: Either organizers fooled Mr. Elliott, or he played along.

More generally, the rally was largely reactive in nature, as shown in this excerpt from a July 12 LA Times item. It’s also worth a lookback as a reminder that “One Nation” was originally envisioned as a vehicle for “progressive” denunciation of alleged “racism” of the Tea Party movement before it became clear that the use of that rhetorical tactic was counterproductive:

The NAACP and other parts of the Democratic base are seeking to reactivate the voters who mobilized to elect Obama. The group announced an Oct. 2 rally in Washington as an answer of sorts to the tea party protests. The One Nation campaign would also involve a coalition of labor groups.

“We have to get up off the couch. We have to demand the change that we voted for,” (NAACP spokeswoman Leila) McDowell said.

Publicizing what it sees as racist and extreme behavior within the tea party is part of that effort.

Just for fun, here are two other interesting tidbits:

  • The earliest Google News mention in an archive search using “one nation rally is dated September 14. It’s an item published at the Socialist Worker Online.
  • One of the endorsing organizations at the “One Nation Working Together” web site is the Communist Party USA.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: North Dakota bishop leads procession at abortion clinic amid protests

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:55 am

From Fargo, ND:

Sep 29, 2010 / 12:51 am

In time for the upcoming Respect Life Month of October, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota presided over an annual Mass and led a procession over 700 people to a local abortion clinic last Saturday, encountering oppositional protestors for the first time.

The Diocese of Fargo estimated that on Saturday, 700 to 800 people from St. Mary’s Cathedral processed to the local Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota’s only abortion facility in downtown Fargo. Director of Communications for the diocese Tanya R. Watterud told CNA that Bishop Aquila led the procession several blocks, carrying a monstrance with Blessed Sacrament and also sprinkling the clinic with holy water amidst pro-abortion demonstrators.

During his homily at the Mass preceding the procession, Bishop Aquila stated that the purpose of the event was “to give witness to the gift of life and particularly the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death.”

“Even reason and science would point to the truth that life begins at the moment of conception,” he noted. “For those who are unbelievers, they can come to know the truth of the dignity of human life through both reason and science.”

“We must also, when speaking of abortion, speak the truth about it,” and refrain from using terms such as “interruption of pregnancy” or “only a mass of cells.”

“Every time a child is aborted it is murder and it is important for us to call it by its proper name.” Individuals, he added, should not use the “politically correct language” of the media but “speak the truth and to speak it clearly.”

He then encouraged those present to pray for the gift of fortitude “to be those people who constantly remind our society and remind others that life is a gift…that every human being created is created in the image and likeness of God from the moment of conception…that every human being has the right to life.”

Go here for the rest of the story.