April 8, 2011

AP Failing to Update Prosser-Kloppenburg Election Tally, Claiming Moral Victory For Dems

It may be laziness, or it may be failure to recognize reality, but the Associated Press’s official tally of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race carried at JSOnline (but note the AP-based URL) still shows Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg with a 204-vote lead over incumbent David Prosser, and hasn’t been updated since Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.

This failure to update has occurred despite the following statement made at the 3:00 mark of the video (HT Hot Air) showing Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus explaining why over 14,000 country votes were not originally reported to the Badger State’s Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees state elections, at a late Thursday press conference:

These numbers will be reflected in my official results, canvass report, that was submitted to the Government Accountability Board.

Ms. Nickolaus mixed up tenses, but it seems pretty clear that by using the word “official” she is saying that the GAB now has the results, and that they should be reflected in any official reports.

Accordingly, yours truly has updated the AP’s non-current scoreboard with the Waukesha County correction and a couple of smaller ones:

WisconsinSupremeRace040511adj

The Winnebago County difference difference was noted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday afternoon, and at that point changed what had been a 204-vote Kloppenburg lead to a 40-vote Prosser advantage. I picked up the more minor Dane County difference, which if done before the Waukesha County disclosure would have put Kloppenburg back into a temporary 3-vote lead, by going to its official canvass results.

As seen above, when all changes I could identify are incorporated, Prosser leads by 7,559 votes, or a margin of 0.5067%. This is ever so slightly above the threshold where, according to Page 2 of the GAB’s recount manual, Kloppenburg would be required to pay for a recount: “If the difference (in the total votes cast between the leading candidate and those cast for the petitioner) is more than .5% but not more than 2%, the fee is $5 per ward.” In Wisconsin, a ward is apparently the same thing as a precinct.

With the handwriting on the wall, the AP’s Todd Richmond tonight went into conposing what was mostly a Democratic Party consolation piece. His old Kloppenburg margin report was the AP’s stale number from Wednesday, as he failed to take into account Winnebago County known results change. Also note the direct late-paragraph contradiction of Richmond’s earlier assertion that the results represented a “draw” for Governor Scott Walker (bolds are mine):

When a little-known liberal challenged a conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, the once-sleepy race suddenly looked like a backdoor way for Gov. Scott Walker’s opponents to sink his agenda.

Then a clerk discovered 14,000 unrecorded votes that vaulted the incumbent into the lead. Experts said the results represented a draw for the governor: He didn’t lose, but the slim margin means he didn’t win big, either. And the close contest could help ensure Walker’s opponents stay energized for the next round.

The outcome also improves the odds that Walker’s collective bargaining law would survive a legal challenge before the high court. Yet it falls short of a clear public endorsement of the governor’s policy.

The conservative “didn’t win by the margin everyone expected him to win by,” said University of Wisconsin-Green Bay political science professor Michael Kraft. “If I were Walker, I wouldn’t be saying everything is just dandy and people love me.”

… Democrats and Kloppenburg supporters worked to tap into the anger surrounding the measure. They hoped electing Kloppenburg would tilt the state Supreme Court to the left, increasing the chances that the justices might eventually strike down the law.

They attacked Prosser as a Walker clone and sought to tie him to the governor’s aggressive budget-cutting agenda. At first it looked as if the strategy had worked.

Kloppenburg’s campaign surged, and voter turnout in Tuesday’s election shattered expectations. Unofficial returns initially showed Kloppenburg with a 204-vote lead out of 1.5 million votes cast.

(19th paragraph — Ed.) “This is a win for the right over the left. Had Kloppenburg won, it would have been a significant victory” for Walker’s opponents, said University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political scientist Mordecai Lee, a former Democratic state lawmaker.

Instead of looking for silver linings, Richmond would have been better served if he had remembered a famous saying from the mouth of a rather well-known coach of Wisconsin’s professional football team: “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” And failing to change the scoreboard doesn’t change who wins and loses.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Don’t Call It the Obama Economy: It’s Not His Fault

Just ask the administration, and the establishment press.

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.

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Okay, I admit it. America continues to endure what has been the worst post-World War II “recovery” ever.

But you people out there who are laying this on our President, who is doing everything he can when he’s not playing golf or picking NCAA tournament brackets, are way out of line. I know this because the establishment press, which sees all and knows all (just ask ‘em), virtually never cites Barack Obama, his administration, or his policies when there’s bad economic news.

I know, seven quarters after the recession officially ended in June 2009, the economy has generated only 245,000 seasonally adjusted jobs. Over 500,000 of those jobs have come from one sector — temporary help services:

TotalAndTempJobsThru0311

All right, so if you take away the temps, the economy has still lost jobs since the recession ended. (Here’s the breakdown of the remainder: the rest of the private sector, up 128,000; the president’s best buds in state and local government, down 429,000; and the federal government, up 38,000.)

But it’s not Barack Obama’s fault. It’s you free-market conservatives who are always whining about uncertainty who are to blame. You’re the ones who are causing employers to resist taking on full-time workers and to avoid hiring the long-term unemployed, and it’s your nonstop negativity which has caused 2.33 million people to leave the workforce in the past twelve months. On Sunday, economic icon Paul Krugman said that “uncertainty is just a myth being made up to blame this on Obama.” Do you ever see the business or economics writers at the Associated Press or elsewhere citing administration-induced uncertainty as a reason why people can’t get jobs? Of course not.

I’m sure you wingnuts can’t wait to crow about how, during the seven quarters after the last serious recession ended in the early 1980s, the economy under Ronald Reagan added 5.29 million jobs, including 5.09 million in the private sector. Big freakin’ deal. Relatively speaking, Reagan had it made. All he had to face was 13% inflation, 21% interest rates, the malaise of the previous administration, and a Congress dominated by the other party. Just because Obama came into office with low inflation, low interest rates, low gas prices, and a Democratic Congress doesn’t mean he had it any easier.

Why, look at the housing mess he inherited: a market awash in foreclosures, underwater mortgages, and moribund building activity. I know what you wingers are going to say next: Two-plus years later, we have 1.9 million homes in foreclosure, 23% of mortgaged homes underwater, and a double-dip in new homebuilding. Well, just ask Julie Schmit at USA Today why this is the case. She’ll say it’s because foreclosed homes are depressing existing-home prices; first-time buyers are being turned down by those mean old bankers who expect to get repaid; and heartless appraisers won’t inflate homes’ values. The market’s disarray has absolutely nothing to do with Obama’s Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP), which has only reached 600,000 of the 3-4 million homeowners it was supposed to help. Yeah, I know: “About half of all trial modifications extended through HAMP are canceled,” and “the re-default rate for HAMP mortgages is significantly higher than average.” So what’s your point? If Julie Schmit or the real estate writers at the Associated Press or Bloomberg thought that HAMP was relevant to housing market conditions, they would say so, and they haven’t. So there.

And don’t even try to claim that the still-bad housing situation is in any way related to the $20 billion shakedown — did I say “shakedown”? I meant “proposed settlement” — with those greedy lenders who screwed up their foreclosure documents. Hey, if Lizzie Warren, her untouchable, unaccountable fiefdom, and state attorneys general can force them to cram down enough homeowners’ principal balances to levels they can afford, those homeowners and their families in 2012 will vote to reelect Oba — I mean, uh, well, they’ll feel better about themselves.

You guys probably believe that gas prices, which have doubled since Obama took office, are also his fault. Well, I’ve got news for you; you’re right about that one, and he’s proud of it (in the company of right-thinking, and that means not right-wing, people). That’s because  this time it’s different, and the press knows it. In 2008, they properly blamed George W. Bush, his Big Oil buddies, and their obscene profits on a daily basis for the price run-up. But they know that this administration is letting prices increase for a noble cause. Barack Obama, EPA Director Steven Chu, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar are intent on weaning us off of evil, globe-warming fossil fuels, and they’ll do it by hook or by cr– well, by any means necessary. That’s why they slapped a moratorium on new Gulf oil drilling last year, and issued another one when a silly federal judge said they couldn’t do it. It’s also why they’re moving really slowly on new Gulf permits, revoking or preventing coal and other energy projects, and delaying — oops, I mean “studying” (wink, wink) — fracking. What more can these guys do? You can’t honestly believe that these actions are hurting the economy and jobs. Surely the business press would be telling us if this were the case. But they’re not. Besides, who are you going to believe, a bunch of knuckle-dragging Tea Partiers and bought-off energy zealots, or Nobel Prize winners Obama and Chu?

You righties probably think that Team Obama has ruined General Motors too, just because Ford outsold GM in March. Well, I have to admit that $84 billion doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to. But I can assure you that the people who claim that the administration forced GM management to devote too much of its precious time and attention to the poor-selling Chevy Volt could not be more wrong. You didn’t see it in the press, so it obviously never happened, never mind the management turnover or those longtime GM employees upset at being called “Government Motors.” (I don’t understand why they act as if being government-controlled is a bad thing.)

And just you wait until Obama, who just dictated (did I use that word? Oops) that all government vehicles will be “alt-fuel” by 2015 — well, almost all – gives away Volts to everyone in America. That’ll fix Ford’s little Blue Oval.

WSJ: ‘Who Really Wants a Shutdown?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:49 am

The Wall Street Journal’s editorialists have it right:

Who Really Wants a Shutdown?
President Obama does, but the GOP’s strategy is a lot less clear.

For people who keep saying they don’t want a government shutdown, Washington’s warring parties are sure acting like they can’t wait for it to happen. Since the policy stakes of this particular drama are so low, we can only assume this showdown is about Democrats and Republicans proving their relative political manhood.

As we went to press last night it sure looked as if President Obama wouldn’t mind a shutdown and thinks he’d benefit politically from it. The White House announced yesterday that Mr. Obama would veto the House Republican bill for a one-week temporary budget extension that would have kept federal agencies operating. That bill would have funded the military for the rest of the year, cut another $12 billion in domestic spending, and allowed more time to negotiate. The funding for the rest of this year has been a special priority of the Pentagon, which otherwise must move money around to keep funding the war effort.

Mr. Obama still said no, even though the official White House statement of policy on the bill listed no specific policy objections. So unless a deal is reached today, as of midnight tonight 800,000 government workers will be furloughed and nonessential federal operations will shut down.

Inviting a shutdown sooner or later has looked to be the White House strategy since Mr. Obama unveiled his own budget in February that increased spending and dodged any serious budget reform. Our guess is that Mr. Obama’s political advisers have concluded that the lesson from Bill Clinton’s 1995 shutdown is that presidents win such showdowns. If they don’t believe this, why risk a shutdown over $7 billion and a few policy differences like funding for Planned Parenthood?

If Mr. Obama wants to reduce any harm from a shutdown, he also has the ability to do so. The Justice Departments of two previous Democratic Presidents, Jimmy Carter and Mr. Clinton, issued opinions with expansive views of what the executive branch could spend money on even during a shutdown. Social Security checks could still be issued, the troops could still be funded, and agencies that rely on user fees could also stay open, for example.

Yet this White House is pitching this shutdown as if it will do untold damage to the country.

… We’re not opposed to a shutdown showdown, but the policy stakes ought to be worth the political investment. The reforms in Mr. Ryan’s just-released 2012 budget are worth such a fight, as are serious and enforceable spending restrictions in return for a debt limit increase. Republicans need to prepare voters for these major policy choices. A government shutdown over $10 billion or so in a $3.5 trillion budget will be hard for voters to understand.

As noted yesterday, given the sequence of events for how legislation gets through to passage, it would be either the White House or the Senate which would make the decision to shut down the government, not the House. It it’s done over relatively minor amounts, it should be quite obvious who wanted the shutdown to occur for purely cynical political reasons.

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UPDATE: At Hot Air — “Obama: I’ll veto funding for the troops.”

Positivity: LA acting studio begins mission to create actors with ‘spiritual integrity’

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Culver City, California:

Apr 2, 2011 / 06:08 pm

Holy Wood Acting Studio had its grand opening on March 25 to begin its mission to create talented actors with the “emotional and spiritual maturity” to endure the challenges in their careers.

“The opening of Holy Wood Acting Studio represents a new era for the entertainment industry, an era where actors will not only thrill audiences with amazing performances, but also inspire them through moral, intellectual, and spiritual integrity,” the Culver City, Calif. studio said in a statement.

Participants at the event helped create an inspiring and exciting atmosphere they hope will set the tone for many years of actor training and personal development, the studio said.

Attendees included Fr. Willy Raymond, president of Family Theater Productions, and actor Navid Negahban of “The Stoning of Soraya M.” and “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

Telenovela actor and model Gonzalo Garcia Vivanco, famous for many soap operas in Mexico and Colombia, was at the event. Also there was evangelist Richard Shakarian, a Christian businessman from Los Angeles whose father founded the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International.

The studio’s operational director Max Espinosa opened the event, explaining the aim of the studio is to prepare students to be both successful actors and complete human beings.

He noted the “Four Pillars” of the study program: Acting, Personal Growth and Development, Leadership, and Health and Fitness. These are combined with Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body to produce actors who are masters of the craft and masters of themselves.

Holy Wood Studio is unique in its incorporation of the late Pope’s approach to spirituality. He emphasized the individual dignity and complementary roles of men and women, while showing how the drama of romantic love can only find fulfillment in marriage.

The studios’ opening ceremony featured video testimonials made by the students and teachers of a pilot seminar. They spoke of the studio’s potential to transform the lives of both students and teachers. …

Go here for the rest of the story.