February 8, 2011

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Huffington’s Heist’) Is Up

It’s here.

The subheadline:

Hundreds of millions, on the backs of free help. Imagine the outcry if a conservative site did that.

Special thanks to the editors at PJM for getting through the submission so quickly and putting it up within 12 nine hours of receiving it.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Thursday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

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Update: Per Drudge in an exclusive, Arianna’s share of the booty is $18 million. Feb. 9, 8:15 a.m.: And $4 million a year as CEO.

Related: At CNS News, Brent Bozell asserts that “The Huffington Post, Bozell said, is not just a liberal publication — it is a purveyor of anti-conservative hate speech.” The Media Research Center has the details through 2007 (“Huffington’s House of Horrors”). NewsBusters has many items of more recent vintage.

Other weigh-ins:

  • Ed Morrissey has a great analysis at Hot Air, though his title (“Arianna planning “citizen journalism” expansion at AOL”) needs work. It should read “Arianna Planning Obama Reelection Effort at AOL.”
  • Daily Beast — “Huffington Post Readers Revolt Against AOL.” The Window title is “Why Huffington Post Readers Hate AOL.”
  • J.E. Dyer at Hot Air’s Green Room (“But Will HuffPo Play in Peoria?”) — “I think AOL has just laid another egg.” A big, stinking, rotten egg, I’d say.
  • The market’s weigh-in was another 1.42% loss in AOL stock today after a 3.4% hit yesterday. The major indices have risen by about 1% in the past two days.
  • (added Feb. 9) WaPo’s Dana Milbank (HT The Other McCain) — “Did Arianna Huffington just sell out her fellow progressives?”
  • (added Feb. 9) Cold Fury — “Keep slaving away, suckers!”
  • (added Feb. 9) Roger Simon at PJM — “She knows when to get out. Obama, and by extension progressivism, is fini. It is best left to fringey looneys like Code Pink. Put simply: progressivism is no longer good business.” Hope he’s right.
  • (added Feb. 9) Dave Weigel at Slate — “Arianna Huffington’s Deal Will Save the Progressive Movement.” Hope he’s wrong.

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Previous related BizzyBlog posts:

  • Sept. 12, 2005 — HuffingtonPost: Arianna’s Pink-Collar Sweatshop?
  • Nov. 2, 2005 — “It Should Not Be This Easy to Illustrate Liberal Hypocrisy.” Relevant item: “At a recent eco-summit in (where else?) San Francisco, The Sierra Club had the lovely and gracious (NOT) Arianna Huffington picked up and driven around in an SUV.”
  • Nov. 24, 2006 — “A Hater from the Side That Claims a Monopoly on ‘Compassion’ Tells Us What He Prays for.” It describes an item carried at HuffPo where the author composed a prayer for Dick Cheney’s death via heart attack. It’s still there.
  • Sept. 5, 2008 — “‘McCain Didn’t Vet Palin’ Meme Has Serious Holes, Including a Likely Serious HuffPo Reporter’s Error (Update: A DEFINITE Error).” This was courtesy of Sam Stein, the HuffPo propagandist disguised as an investigative reporter. Stein claimed that John McCain couldn’t have vetted VP nominee Sarah Palin appropriately because no one ever visited Wasilla, Alaska’s local newspaper to review its archives, and, according to Sam, “The paper’s (massive) archives are not online.” Uh, yes they were, with over 900 items plainly visible to anyone with an Internet connection. In January 2010, I dedicated a portion of another post to Stein’s pathetic attempt to claim he was somehow still correct. If he’s one of those working for free, HuffPo is still overpaying him.

How ‘Clever’: AP Calls Fed’s Bond-Buying Program ‘Stimulus,’ Avoids Correct Term (‘Quantitative Easing’)

The search for ways to rehabilitate the Obama administration in the eyes of the public is seemingly a never-ending enterprise at the Associated Press.

Oh, they slip up occasionally. Late last week (covered yesterday at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in an item primarily about how Congress really, really can’t stop planned stimulus spending (uh-huh), the wire service’s Brett J. Blackledge let slip that President Obama’s stimulus program is “politically unpopular.” In noting that the government wasn’t able to spend the funds as fast as intended, Blackledge also indirectly confirmed an obvious truth the President admitted to the New York Times that he needed almost two years to learn: “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

So what do you do if you’re “The Essential Global News Network” and need to recover? Why, you find something that appears to be working (sort of), and rename it “stimulus.” Voila! See how easy that is?

The AP’s Jeannine Aversa, with the help of her item’s headline, performed the sleight-of-hand today:

Fed official: Stimulus plan should be reconsidered

The Federal Reserve should “quite seriously” rethink whether its $600 billion bond-purchase program is needed given the strengthening U.S. economy, a Fed official said Tuesday.

Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, said more spending by consumers and businesses means the economy probably will grow at a faster pace of around 4 percent this year, compared with 2.9 percent last year.

Inflation should stay in check, he said in a speech in Newark, Del. But rising prices for commodities, such as oil, need to be closely watched, he added.

Lacker participates in the Fed’s policy discussions, although he isn’t a voting member this year. Differing views from within the Fed about the size and pace of the bond program could make it harder for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to build consensus.

The Fed at its March or April meeting likely will the Fed will probably want to signal whether it will end the bond-purchase program on schedule in June or extend it.

Note that Aversa, given about 375 words, devoted not a single one to the correct term for the Fed’s bond-buying program: quantitative easing. Quantitative easing, or “QE,” is not just a shorthand term of convenience; a search on the term (in quotes) at the central bank’s web site returns 177 items, including this May 2010 speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in which he uses the term six times in the space of two paragraphs.

So you see, in AP-Land, “stimulus” isn’t some $800 billion program that has accomplished nothing. That’s so 2009. “Stimulus” is what the Fed has been doing recently. At least for now, it’s sort of working — “sort of” because during quarters 2 through 8 of the post-recession Reagan-era recovery in 1983-1984, the economy roared, averaging an annualized 7.1% during that seven-quarter period (Q183-Q384). Now we’re supposed to be impressed if the 2011 economy coming out of a deeper recession (i.e., presumably having more bounce-back ability) manages to get to 4%. Uh, no.

I hope for their sake that Aversa and the AP have a contingency stimulus renaming plan in place if the higher inflation many economists believe is a substantial risk of the Fed’s quantitative easing efforts rears its ugly, financially destructive head.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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BizzyBlog Update: Here are the results of the 2009 “stimulus” program through the end of calendar 2010 (HT to an e-mailer whose return addy isn’t working) —

StimulusThru123110

$396,000 per job “claimed.” I think they got tired of being criticized for using the outrageously deceptive term “created or saved.” “Claimed” is just as bad.

Voting Rights And Wrongs

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 11:17 am

Great piece.  Posted in full with permission.

From Tim Rudd, Clermont County GOP Chairman:

Some sanity used to prevail regarding eligibility to vote on Election Day. Prior Ohio law stated that a person had to correct any changes, deficiencies, or discrepancies in his voter registration prior to thirty days before an election to be eligible to vote, a clear hard fast easy to enforce rule to which we should return.

Motor Voter and HAVA (Help America Vote Act) instituted some laudable but shortsighted, with unforeseen consequences, changes to increase “voter participation” on Election Day. A person who is currently registered in Ohio but has moved is allowed to vote at their new poll without having to change their address prior to the election. Hence was born the “provisional ballot” to allow a registered Ohio voter to vote in their “new” precinct. Ohio law is also clear that a citizen must vote in their precinct, where they currently reside, in order for their vote to count. Numerous directives have flowed from the last two Secretaries of State to reinforce that code to local board of elections. (Prior to the provisional, there was a challenged ballot where if a citizen’s registration was successfully challenged at the poll then they would have to vote a ballot treated like the modern provisional to later be determined as to its eligibility by the local board of elections).

Some election outcomes have been solely decided on the count of provisional ballots during the final canvas conducted by a board of elections. These aren’t necessarily elections where a handful of votes determined the outcome as provisionals can number in the thousands. Federal courts have also ruled that boards of elections are to ignore the legal requirement that someone must vote in their own precinct if someone can claim but not necessarily prove “poll worker error”. It seems almost incredible to me that thousands of voters within a county let alone one polling place can be “directed” to a wrong precinct, be told that their vote will not count if they vote in the wrong precinct, vote and then expect their vote to count.

What happens when a truly local issue is caught in the middle of a provisional vote fight? For example, imagine a local school levy fails by four votes where we have a polling place with four precincts, two of which are in the school district. Ten provisional votes are cast at the polling place. The local board determines that half of the provisionals should have had the chance to vote on the school issue but didn’t because they voted in the wrong precinct. Would a court then step in and order a local board to allow these voters a second chance after the outcome has been announced?

The lesson once again is that a government should not try to be a super nanny but let some responsibility reside with an informed citizenry. We need to return to a hard fast easy to enforce court proof rule that places some of the burden and responsibility where it should rest – the voter.

Big Battles over Deficit Yet to Come (Robert Roll Column)

Filed under: Economy,National Security,Taxes & Government — Rob Roll @ 10:01 am

While the news media trained its focus on the turmoil in Egypt, there was another storyline running beneath the surface: the fight over the deficit.

But first, a word on Egypt. Given its ramifications for the future of American foreign policy, it probably deserves the media coverage it has received. Many others of my political persuasion have criticized Obama on being indecisive and sending mixed messages on whether or not he wanted President Mubarak to step down. I cannot fault him for that because of the conflicting reports of who are the ones demonstrating. At first, it seemed that the protesters were just ordinary people protesting for democracy. If that were the case, the Obama should have supported the protesters. But, a couple days after the protests began, there was word that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind the protests. The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic extremist organization, much like al Qaeda or the Taliban. If that were the case then Obama should have supported President Mubarak. President Obama is trying to walk a fine line between supporting democracy in Egypt and supporting Mubarak, the best friend America has in the Arab world.

Now on to the most pressing domestic issue: the deficit. Right now, because a budget was not passed in the 111th congress, the federal government is operating on a continuing resolution, which will run out on March 4th. If Congress does not extend that measure, all non-essential government operations will shut down, which will not be Armageddon, but it still would not be the best thing in the world. If Congress extends the continuing resolution, then they will have to vote in May to raise the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is the legal limit of the amount of debt that the Treasury Department may issue. If the limit is reached, the United States will default on its debt, which would send the financial markets into chaos.

Democrats are telling Republicans not to “play chicken” with the debt ceiling. Republicans, on the other hand, are pushing for much-needed spending cuts as a trade-off for raising the debt ceiling. As much as it pains me to say it, the Democrats are right. We cannot allow the government to come close to defaulting on its debt. Even a hint of a possible default will send interest rates through the roof.

Enter Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey. Senator Toomey has introduced a bill that would require the government to pay the principal and interest on the debt before any other government functions are funded, thus preventing a default and instituting an instant one-third funding cut to all government programs and agencies. These severe cuts would bring both political parties to the table and make them negotiate seriously. Senator Toomey’s bill should be passed. That is how to resolve the immediate problem. But what about preventing the next crisis?

This is where the GOP can really shine. Because the budget is drafted in the House of Representatives, which has a Republican majority, they are in a unique situation to get spending under control. Every year, according to law, spending on particular items must increase by a certain percentage, even before a budget is proposed. For example, the Defense Department’s budget, excluding the wars, automatically grows by 9% a year. Now let’s say that Congress decides to only increase the Defense budget by 7%. Under “baseline budgeting”, that is considered a 2% cut to Defense, even though we are still spending more than we did last year. How much sense does that make? The GOP should eliminate this type of accounting trick.

A final note, I have heard voices that say that the only way we will ever get our deficit down is by raising taxes. They say that spending cuts will only get us so far. They say the government needs more revenue. I agree that cutting spending is not a panacea. I agree that the government need to collect more revenue. But the way to do that is not by raising taxes. The way to raise more revenue is to get Americans back to work. If more people are working, then more people are paying taxes, therefore increasing government revenue. The answer to all of our budget problems is simple: jobs, jobs, jobs.

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Robert Roll is a freshman majoring in Finance at Ohio Northern University, and the blog owner’s nephew.

IBD on On the Administration’s Betrayal of Britain

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:17 am

I’ve been meaning to get to this (“US agrees to tell Russia Britain’s nuclear secrets”).

It should be noted for the record that the treachery described therein did not begin until 2009.

I’m glad Investors Business Daily got to it:

The Betrayal Of Great Britain

When spies give military secrets to a foreign power, it’s espionage. When an American president does it, betraying an ally to befriend a longtime foe, what do we call it?

According to diplomatic cables obtained by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, mined from the thousands of classified documents released by WikiLeaks, the U.S. government agreed to provide Russia with information on the British nuclear deterrent as part of the deal behind the ratification and signing of the New START treaty.

Specifically, the Telegraph reports, the U.S. provided Moscow with the serial numbers of each Trident missile in the British ballistic missile submarine inventory. The Russians presumably already know how many Tridents the British have but can’t be sure. British policy has been to refuse to confirm the exact size of its relatively tiny arsenal.

… The State Department denies this, and spokesman P.J. Crowley said via Twitter that the U.S. simply “carried forward requirement to notify Russia about U.S.-UK nuclear cooperation from the 1991 treaty.” So why did we, according to the Telegraph, have to ask Britain in 2009 for permission with detailed and classified information on the British Tridents, permission that was reportedly denied?

Indeed, according to one leaked memo, “the Russian Federation will receive unique identifiers for each of the missiles transferred to the UK, which was more information than was disclosed under START.” So the State Department seems to have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

… That we would betray Britain’s nuclear secrets would not be surprising, since we are quite willing to betray our own. Before a recent U.N. conference on nuclear nonproliferation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced: “Beginning today, the United States will make public the number of nuclear weapons in our stockpile and the number of weapons we have dismantled since 1991.”

… Certainly the British people must be wondering, with friends like these …

I believe that a case can be made that the START Treaty vote was illegitimate. How many of the 67 Senators who supported it would have taken the opposite view if they had known what the Obama administration did to to the British to get Russia to go along?

Let’s see now. This administration has seemingly been doing all it can to alienate the British and Israelis, our two strongest allies, while coming perilously close to leaving Egypt’s Mubarak at the not-so-tender mercies of the Muslim Brotherhood. North Korea’s belligerence has gone unpunished (at least visibly), and Iran’s “death to America” regime continues to move towards having nuclear weapons.

Worldwide, our position is weakening, liberty is suffering, tyranny is rising. On the whole, we are less safe. You don’t have to be a foreign-policy specialist to know that something is very wrong here.

Positivity: Teen hailed as hero after rescue effort

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Brockton, Massachusetts:

Posted Feb 01, 2011 @ 05:14 PM

When 19-year-old Nathan Yassen rescued his 97-year-old neighbor from her burning home Friday night, it wasn’t the first time he tried to help the elderly woman.

“He tried to help her shovel the other day and she said ‘Get out of here; I need the exercise,’” said Nathan’s mother Pamela Yassen.

The Yassens shared details of Nina Sullivan, an old family friend and neighbor who remains in good condition at Good Samaritan Medical Center after she was rescued from her Cherry Street home that was heavily damaged in a fire Friday night.

Nathan Yassen, a Brockton High School senior, was also treated at Good Samaritan Medical Center after he kicked down the door to Sullivan’s house and ushered her to safety.

He was given oxygen at the hospital before being released in the early hours of Saturday morning. Other than a little smoke inhalation, he feels fine, he said.

“He’s going to have a bloated head,” said Pamela Yassen, as her son has received ample praise from neighbors, media attention and his Facebook page is filled with congratulatory messages.

“He was really brave to go in and take her out of the house,” neighbor Charlene Ainslee said.

“It’s just him, he’s that type of kid,” said Yassen’s older sister Selena Royce.

Nathan Yassen was carrying trash from his home when he noticed the house fire across the street. He ran back into his home, dumped the trash, yelled for his mother to call 911, then grabbed a fire extinguisher that he used in trying to smash two windows of the burning house.

He instead kicked down a back door, found the woman in her bedroom looking for clothing and her purse, and convinced her to leave the home. …

Go here for the rest of the story.