February 25, 2011

Parker/Spitzer: Splitser

CNN announced tonight that Kathleen Parker is leaving Parker/Spitzer:

CNN co-host Kathleen Parker leaving show

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) — Kathleen Parker, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who co-hosted CNN’s 8 p.m. show, is leaving just five months after the show debuted, the company announced Friday.

“I have decided to return to a schedule that will allow me to focus more on my syndicated newspaper column and other writings,” Parker said in a statement.

She said she enjoyed her time on the show “Parker Spitzer” with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, but she had missed focusing full-time on her column in the months she had been working on the show.

Parker’s farewell, as seen at this CNN web page, takes up all of seven seconds. Wow.

It’s hard to see how a program with a moderate who insists on claiming she’s somehow a conservative and a disgraced ex-Goveror could have worked, and it didn’t. The ratings from Thursday night showed P/S in a distant third place in the cable ratings race, barely beating its Headline News competitor:

CableRatings022411

As would be expected, the story at the Associated Press, which must think that anyone to the right of Lincoln Chafee is a conservative, called Parker one:

Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said Friday that she’s leaving CNN’s prime-time “Parker/Spitzer” talk show, which will be renamed and continue with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and others.
CNN said the decision to cut ties with Parker was mutual.

The show debuted last fall to some tough reviews and poor ratings in a time slot dominated by Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly. But the ending of MSNBC’s “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann last month has given CNN an opportunity. The network has averaged 638,000 viewers in the time slot during a newsy period this month, up 24 percent from last February’s show with Campbell Brown, the Nielsen Co. said.

The new show will be dubbed “In the Arena,” with two conservatives — former Fox News Channel personality E.D. Hill and National Review columnist Will Cain — joining Spitzer as panelists. CNN said others will be on the show, but they haven’t been named yet.

Parker, whose self-description is “slightly to the right of center,” became an establishment press darling in 2008 with her strident criticisms of Sarah Palin, vice-presidential running mate of “slightly to the right of center (on his best days)” John McCain. Her reward: a 2010 Pulitzer.

That there was tension between Parker and Spitzer was hardly a secret.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Shhh: 4Q10 GDP Growth Revised Down From an Annualized +3.2% to +2.8%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:52 pm

Here’s the Associated Press at 7:09 a.m., ahead of the government’s revised fourth quarter 2010 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report:

The economy probably grew a tad faster at the end of last year than first thought, helped by stronger sales of U.S. goods to foreign buyers and slightly more spending by businesses to add to their inventories.

Analysts predict the economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the October-December quarter. That’s slightly stronger than the 3.2 percent growth rate estimated a month ago.

Here’s Bloomberg, complete with its insufferably arrogant air of implied certainty (not to mention its complete failure to note that the rates involved are annualized):

Treasuries snapped a gain from yesterday before government and industry reports that economists said will show gross-domestic-product growth quickened and consumer confidence improved.

U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 3.3 percent rate in the fourth quarter, faster than the 3.2 percent pace the government estimated in January, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists before the Commerce Department report today.

Here’s the government’s actual report released at 8:30 a.m. (bolds are mine):

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 2.6 percent.

… The small fourth-quarter acceleration in real GDP primarily reflected a sharp downturn in imports, an acceleration in PCE, an upturn in residential fixed investment, and an acceleration in exports that were mostly offset by downturns in private inventory investment and in federal government spending, a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a downturn in state and local government spending.

Oops.

Here’s how the AP covers the Obama administration’s keister:

  • As of 2:30 p.m. at the Business page, there isn’t even a news story about the GDP report.
  • Also as of 2:30 p.m., news about the government’s report is not findable if you search the AP’s home site on “GDP” or “gross domestic product.”
  • Jeannine Aversa’s 10:28 a.m. report (“State spending cuts slow US economic growth in Q4″) tells us that it’s the fault of reduced state and local government spending. C’mon, Jeannine, you have to know that’s a load of crap. Yes, the state/local contribution to GDP component went from an original -.10 to a -.29, but the headline says that these alleged state cuts were the main reason why overall growth wasn’t as good as expected, not why the revised number changed as it did.
  • Aversa’s opening sentence is also pure hyperbole: “Deeper spending cuts by state and local governments weighed down U.S. economic growth in the final three months of last year.” The main reason why overall growth is being held back remains “Gross Private Domestic Investment,” whose component, while declining a bit from -3.20 points to a revised -3.13, remains the single biggest deterrent — by a factor over 10 times greater than the impact of state and local spending. After flushing out the change in inventories (which are being kept lean because businesses aren’t confident that buyers are out there), fixed private investment declined from contributing 0.57 points to 0.50. In a real recovery, this category should be exploding. It also happens to be the place from which real future growth due to innovation and increases in productivity should be coming — and they’re not.

So I guess we’re supposed to believe that the economy is just gonna die if the states don’t keep spending recklessly. Zheesh.

As seen in this blog’s far right column, GDP growth during the sixth post-recession quarter under Ronald Reagan was an annualized 8.0%. Reagan, dragging many in his party kicking and screaming into doing what’s right, did what works; Obama and his party did exactly the wrong thing, won’t own up to it, and won’t stop trying to do what hasn’t worked, and won’t work.

It also should be noted, despite the downward revision, that the economy appears to have finally recovered in real terms from the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy’s recession. At this table, you’ll see that 4Q10′s real GDP of $13.3710 trillion is slightly above 2Q08′s $13.359 trillion. But if the final revision coming out at the end of March comes in at few tenths of a point lower, that will no longer be the case.

Of course, full recovery using the Warren Buffet standard, which says that you haven’t recovered until per capita GDP is back to where it was, remains far, far away.

Cincinnati Enquirer Reporter Frets Over ‘So Drastic’ Cuts, Govt. Shutdown

Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Malia Rulon seems to have misplaced her objectivity when she prepared a February 21 front-page report on legislation passed by the House that would reduce projected spending during the current fiscal year by $61 billion. Later in this post, I will present evidence showing that Ms. Rulon’s objectivity has likely been missing in action for many years.

This amount represents about 1.6% of the administration’s $3.819 trillion spending estimate. If implemented, this year’s $3.758 trillion in spending would still be over $1 trillion more than was spent just four years ago in fiscal 2007, as seen below:

USadjAdtuals2007to2010andProj2011to2013

See how Ms. Rulon describes these spending reductions in her report (HT Virtuous Republic; scary words in bold):

Is John Boehner pushing Congress toward government shutdown?
Speaker caught between a rock (GOP elements demanding steeper cuts) and a hard place (Dems)

John Boehner has said from the start of his tenure as speaker of the House that he doesn’t want a government shutdown, but conservative lawmakers and tea party freshmen have put him in a position that could lead to just that.

A spending bill that would fund the federal government until October is being debated in Congress. The version that passed the Republican-controlled House on Saturday makes more than $61 billion in cuts that are so drastic it’s unlikely that the Democrat-controlled Senate will approve it.

Democrats have said such deep cuts would harm the fragile economic recovery. And President Barack Obama has already threatened to veto the House version, which makes cuts to several of the president’s top priorities, such as a school reform program he has championed and money to implement his health care law and a recently passed financial reform bill.

If an agreement isn’t reached by March 4, the date on which the temporary federal budget measure expires, the government could shut down.

The only way around the deadline is if Congress were to pass an extension to that date, but any extension would have to come from the House, and Boehner made it clear last week that he won’t allow a short-term extension that keeps government funding at the level that it is now, a statement that sent shock waves across Washington.

“I am not going to move any kind of short-term (spending bill) at current levels,” the West Chester Republican said. “When we say we are going to cut spending, read my lips: We are going to cut spending.”

Ms. Rulon “shock waves” reference completely ignores the fact that the previous Congress led by Nancy Pelosi, in an unprecedented action, refused to pass a fiscal 2011 budget and simply left town. Almost five months in, the government is still operating on autopilot and, as seen above, spending has gone wild.

Other all too predictable elements of bias in Rulon’s report include these:

  • She quotes Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution without tagging him or his think tank as liberal.
  • She quotes Ohio State University political science professor Herb Asher, also without applying the liberal tag, one that The Machavellian found is proven by Asher’s extensive record of left-predominant political contributions.
  • After her “so drastic” claim, she blows right past Mann’s assertion that “(This is) High drama over something that will have a trivial effect on the deficit” without noting the irony.

In a follow-up post at the Virtuous Republic, The Machiavellian unearthed an interesting factoid at the web site of the Federal Election Commission:

MaliaRulonFECforACTcontrib2004

Imagine that.

For those who don’t recall the organization to which Rulon contributed, here is a portion of America Coming Together’s Wikipedia entry:

America Coming Together (ACT) was a liberal, political action, 527 group dedicated to get-out-the-vote activities. ACT did not specifically endorse any political party, but mostly worked on behalf of Democratic candidates. It was the largest 527 group in 2004 and was planning to be involved in future races. The group was primarily funded by Peter Lewis, George Soros, and labor unions, especially the Service Employees International Union, and was led by Steve Rosenthal, a former political director of the AFL-CIO.

… The Federal Election Commission announced on August 29, 2007, that it had reached a settlement agreement with ACT for violations of various federal campaign finance laws during the 2004 US presidential campaign. ACT has agreed to pay $775,000 in fines.

The Machiavellian makes clear that only Rulon can tell us whether her contribution would have been considered a conflict of interest at the time with the organizations for which she was providing content.

Matt Bai’s New York Times piece from July 25, 2004 (“Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy”) pretty much shreds Wiki’s “nonpartisan” claim:

Into this vacuum rushes money — and already it is creating an entirely new kind of independent force in American politics. Led by Soros and Lewis, Democratic donors will, by November, have contributed as much as $150 million to a handful of outside groups — America Coming Together, the Media Fund, MoveOn.org — that are going online, door to door and on the airways in an effort to defeat Bush. These groups aren’t loyal to any one candidate, and they don’t plan to disband after the election; instead, they expect to yield immense influence over the party’s future, at the very moment when the power of some traditional Democratic interest groups, like the once mighty manufacturing unions, is clearly on the wane.

Obviously, ACT was all about electing liberals and Democrats. Obviously, though the amount is nominal, Rulon’s contribution betrays a desire, at least at the time, to see liberals and Democrats elected.

The Machiavellian asserts, and I would agree, that Rulon’s “so drastic” report demonstrates that she still has “a political bias … which leans left and that goes a long way to explaining why … (she) wrote what she did on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer on February 21st, 2011.”

The guess here is that what The Machiavellian has relayed is a very small tip of a very large, left-biased local reporting iceberg.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (022511, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:46 am

From Politico (HT Michelle Malkin), we see how snakes slither around their “transparency” promises:

White House meets lobbyists off campus

Caught between their boss’ anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the reality of governing, President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds — and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident.

It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view — and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public.

… The White House scoffs at the notion of an ulterior motive for scheduling meetings in what are, after all, meeting rooms. But at least four lobbyists who’ve been to the conference rooms just off Lafayette Square tell POLITICO they had the distinct impression they were being shunted off to Jackson Place — and off the books — so their visits wouldn’t later be made public.

Obama’s administration has touted its release of White House visitors logs as a breakthrough in transparency, as the first White House team to reveal the comings and goings around the West Wing and the Old Executive Office Building.

The Jackson Place townhouses are a different story.

Is this the hope? Or the change?

______________________________________________

When he runs out of anything else bad to say in his report about an election fraud bill just passed in Kansas, the Associated Press’s John Hanna hauls out what he appears to think is his ultimate criticism:

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s legislation to require voters to show photo identification at the polls won first-round approval Thursday in the state House.

… The bill also would require people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to provide proof that they’re citizens. It increases the penalties for election crimes and gives the secretary of state’s office the power to file and prosecute election fraud cases in state courts, along with county prosecutors and the attorney general’s office.

… Opponents, mostly Democrats, argued that Kobach’s proposals would seriously hamper efforts to register voters door-to-door or at sites such as libraries and grocery stores. They also contend thousands of Kansans either won’t be able to vote or will have their votes not counted because of the requirements.

Kobach’s proposals also drew criticism because of his conservative Republican politics. He’s a Kansas City-area law professor on leave, known nationally for advising city officials and legislators in other states about cracking down on illegal immigration. He also helped draft the immigration law Arizona enacted last year.

This is pathetic, “this bill has to be bad because of who wrote it” bias.

Hey John, the bill stands or falls on its merits, not because of who wrote it.

______________________________________________

Incivility watch:

  • Video: Rhode Island union supporter to cameraman – “I’ll f**k you in the a**, you faggot”
  • Video: Union protester grabs FreedomWorks staffer’s camera, hits her with sign
  • You Are a Bad Jew!“: Union Protester Loudly Scolds Conservative Activist
  • SEIU Protester Harasses Black Tea Partier: “Do You Have Any Children… That You Claim?”

______________________________________________

Then there’s this:

Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.

“Racist!” some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.

Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.

“It doesn’t matter how you feel about the war. It doesn’t matter how you feel about fighting,” said Maschek. “There are bad men out there plotting to kill you.”

Several students laughed and jeered the Idaho native, a 10th Mountain Division infantryman who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds.

Maschek, who is studying economics, miraculously survived the insurgent attack in Kirkuk. In the hail of gunfire, he broke both legs and suffered wounds to his abdomen, arm and chest.

Mr. Maschek lost a limb and became wheelchair-bound for life so he could come back to America and NOT be able to exercise his freedom of speech rights without harassment at one of America’s allegedly great universities, because a bunch of privileged punks — who are only able to exercise THEIR rights because of millions of people like him who laid their personal safety and sometimes their lives on the line when it mattered — couldn’t stand the thought of anyone else at their university following in his heroic footsteps.

The university should be ashamed, and should discipline those who were involved. This limp response — from the ROTC task force, not the higher-ups in the administration, who appear to be AWOL — and a search on Maschek’s name at the university’s web site finding nothing else relevant indicate that they aren’t even thinking about it.

Positivity: ‘She was worth it’ — UK mom delayed leukemia treatment to save life of unborn daughter

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

VictoriaWebsterProlifeFamily2011From Birmingham, UK:

February 17, 2011

One British cancer patient has sent a powerful message about the value of life after she refused aggressive treatment for her leukemia in an effort to save the life of her unborn daughter – who was, in fact, born perfectly healthy last April.

“My doctor told me I needed to make a choice and decide whether I should keep my baby. To me, there was no decision to make,” Victoria Webster, 33, told the UK’s Daily Mail. “I had already bonded with my baby while she was growing inside me and as her mum, I had to protect her.

“Doctors kept telling me I should have a termination – but I had made up my mind, and my husband Martyn supported me.”

Webster had discovered that she suffered from chronic myeloid leukaemia, or cancer of the blood, during a routine blood test when she was 21 weeks pregnant. Doctors, who said her prognosis was good because they caught the disease so early, begged her to begin chemotherapy immediately, a treatment that would have killed her unborn daughter Jessica.

Webster instead opted for a less aggressive treatment, and waited until Jessica was born in April 2010 by Cesarean section before taking the powerful drugs. She is now reportedly responding well to treatment, and she hopes that she will soon be in full remission.

“It’s the best decision I have ever made. I can’t imagine my life without my daughter,” said Webster. …

Go here for the rest of the story.