September 20, 2011

At AP, It’s ‘LightWhat’?

APheartsObamaSo I figure that I need to catch up on the LightSquared saga. This is the company which, as Fox News reported on Thursday (the URL date is September 15, though the time stamp is the next day) is building “a nationwide, next-generation, 4G phone network.”

The problem is, as Fox further noted, that there are concerns that “many, including (General William) Shelton, think (the network) would seriously hinder the effectiveness of high-precision GPS receiver systems, a product used most commonly by the United States military.” Shelton told a congresspersons “in a classified briefing earlier this month” that he was asked by the Obama administration to change (but apparently didn’t) his testimony about said dangers.

So I went to the Associated Press’s main page at 9:50 this evening, did a search on the company’s name, and got back the following:

APsearchOnLightSquared092011

Really.

A search on the “Light Squared” (not in quotes), done in case the Essential Global News Network’s crack team of investigative reporters thought the company’s name might be two words, also came up empty.

A search on “Falcone,” the last name of the billionaire heavy-hitting Democrat donor who is LightSquared’s CEO — forget about it.

Finally, while a Google News search on the company’s name (sorted by date, with duplicates) returned 550 items (the first pages said 718, but it was really 550), a Google News search from September 12-20 on [LightSquared "Associated Press"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) came back with two items — neither of which tied to any AP-authored items.

Reuters has something. Bloomberg has something. Even UPI has something, for heaven’s sake.

It takes a special talent for Obama administration butt-covering to be this completely negligent about following a news story found in over 500 other places. I guess everyone at AP has been too busy serving as White House stenographers to notice.

Anyone wondering why they haven’t heard or seen a word about LightSquared coming from an AP-subscribing news outlet now knows why.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

An 11-Minute Israeli-Palestinian-Arab History Lesson

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:24 pm

Bookmark this brilliant Bill Whittle summation (HT Hot Air) of the past 90-plus years :

Viewers will note that on multiple occasions, Palestinians have rejected two-state solutions, in one instance turning down one which would have had Israel occupying what is probably less than one-third of its current territory. Nothing short of total expulsion or elimination of all Jews in Israel is acceptable to them.

What evidence is there that this stance has changed?

Ohio Likes (Early Voting Changes, Dem Apathy) and Dislikes (New Congressional Districts, Husted’s Candidate Petition Rules)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:54 pm

I strongly dislike the new congressional boundaries, as shown below (old on left, new on right; click to enlarge; new map via Brain Shavings, whose reaction I share):

OhioCongressionalDists2001to2010 OhioCongressionalDists2011to2020

Democrats have no right to gripe (see Illinois), but I’m certain that districts could have been drawn with greater continuity while still sufficiently favoring Republicans. I certainly don’t think Warren County should be in OH-01.

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I like the restrictions the Ohio Legislature has placed on early voting, which in my view is a travesty in the first place, and hope the effort to stop the legislation from taking effect fails.

To the questions raised here (“Do New Voting Laws Suppress Fraud? Or Democrats?”), the answer is “They suppress Democratic Party fraud.”

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I like seeing the relative apathy I’m seeing in leftist circles so far this fall.

Look at this video of Ted Strickland on Labor Day (if you can stand it) and see if you think the crowd size is any more than a couple of hundred. Then remember that Vice President Joe Biden had at most 2,000 or so people paying attention to what he was saying on Labor Day at Coney Island. The rest of the crowd was apparently only there for a nice, low-cost picnic.

My direct experience was to show up at Warren County Democratic Party headquarters a couple of weeks ago to see what kind of response an Obama for America email asking readers to sign a petition against the early voting law would generate. At 7:15 on a weekday night, I was the only one there besides a party official and a party clerk.

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I dislike the bureaucratic nitpicky game of “gotcha” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is forcing county election boards to play in handling petitions of candidates seeking political office (described briefly here).

Why shouldn’t an election board help someone properly complete a petition instead of playing “gotcha” after the fact and disqualifying that person from running? We should be encouraging people to run, not forcing them out of what they want to do because they made innocent mistakes which could easily be corrected.

The fact that this is coming from a guy who claimed to live in Kettering while really living in suburban Columbus when he was a state representative and state senator — when genuine residence in the districts involved was a legal requirement for those offices — makes Husted’s anal-retentive rulemaking all the more galling.

Mrs. Sherrod Brown aka Ms. Connie Schultz Resigns From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Mrs. Sherrod Brown aka Ms. Connie Schultz resigned yesterday from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

It should have happened nearly six years ago, specifically on December 3, 2005, when Mr. Sherrod Brown made his candidacy for U.S. Senate official. (As I understand it, she did take a sabbatical during the 2006 campaign.)

It should not have taken excellent work by Third Base Politics and others exposing Mrs. Brown’s/Ms. Schultz’s attendance at a Tea Party event and her subsequent write-up of the event which failed to mention that Mr. Sherrod Brown’s likely 2012 U.S. Senate opponent Josh Mandel was among the featured speakers.

Behold the video where Mrs. Sherrod Brown aka Ms. Connie Schultz is seen taping the speech of Mr. Mandel which she failed to report:

Bytor at 3BP noted the following when he posted the vid (bold is mine):

Our reports also say that Connie didn’t record the other speakers at the event. But she certainly made sure she recorded Mandel. Why was Connie Schultz so interested in Josh Mandel? Oh, please forgive me. I forget to mention something else. Connie’s husband is up for re-election next year, and Josh Mandel is almost certain to be the Republican nominee.

So, it appears that while being paid by the Plain Dealer to write a column about the Tea Party event, she was also stalking her husband’s opponent and doing work for his re-election campaign.

It was also completely appropriate for the party chairman at ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) to ask the Plain Dealer to keep Mrs. Sherrod Brown aka Ms. Connie Schultz away from all political reporting for the duration of the 2012 campaign.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer made a serious error in judgment allowing Mrs. Sherrod Brown aka Ms. Connie Schultz to continue working at the paper all these years. During that time, as the Daily Bellwether’s Bill Sloat noted in 2007, she was involved (in late 2005/early 2006) in encouraging a person she was supposed to cover objectively as a reporter to become Mr. Sherrod Brown’s campaign manager. Sloat also has other interesting and relevant posts (Daily Bellwether search results on “Connie Schultz“) which on the whole indicate that Mrs. Sherrod Brown aka Ms. Connie Schultz would have done her profession (i.e., journalist, not hard-left spouse of a hard-left politician) a favor if she had left the PD from the get-go.

‘Great’ News For Cincinnati, and Ohio: Omnicare’s HQ Is Coming to Town

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:04 pm

Omnicare is moving across the river from Covington, Kentucky into downtown Cincinnati:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s aggressive new attitude on creating jobs earned its first big win in Southwest Ohio on Monday, as pharmacy giant Omnicare announced it’s moving its headquarters and nearly 500 jobs to downtown Cincinnati.

… Omnicare was one of the first companies in Kasich’s sights after he took office promising to get aggressive about luring jobs to Ohio. It was the first out-of-state company that his economic development chief, Mark Kvamme, negotiated with, in talks with CEO Figueroa that began in January.

“We’re working to create an environment where we’re job-friendly,” Kasich said.

Soon after Figueroa took over a struggling Omnicare in December, he made it known that he wanted to cut costs, consolidate operations and improve morale at a company that had been target of several investigations and lawsuits.

… Omnicare will receive job creation tax credits from Ohio worth $6 million over seven years. It will receive an income tax break from Cincinnati worth $2.4 million over seven years.

In exchange, Figueroa agreed to move 484 jobs to Cincinnati. He also agreed to expand to 630 jobs in Cincinnati over 10 years.

It’s “great” news, in quotes, because I’m not a big fan of big incentive packages. But … that’s the way the game is played, and if Ohio doesn’t play it while the other 49 states do — and of course they will — the Buckeye State will be on the short end of efforts such as these.

Omnicare’s financial statements (quarterly; annual) indicate that this is a once very profitable company which went into deeply into the red but has turned things around to the point where it’s making money from operations and doing a bit better than breaking even overall. The armchair take is that this is a company leaving a negative recent past behind which would be in a pretty good position to grow if Obamacare gets repealed, and not so much if it isn’t.

This beats companies moving out and seriously contracting, which we’ve seen way too much of in Ohio in previous years.

This Is So Pathetic …

Filed under: Economy,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:40 pm

… I’ll just let it play here without further comment, while struggling mightily to keep my trap shut (original Mediaite item; Warning: Intensely painful viewing):

UPDATE: Okay, I’ll let someone else react. I received this in an email today from a Tea Party activist in Clermont County —

A few of you have asked me about David Lewis. I do not know anything about him, other than the items published by the Enquirer, Huffpo, etc. Although he claims both a Batavia residence … (and a) Tea Party affiliation, nobody I talked to has heard of him, and he does not show up on the subset of the Tea Party data that I have.

I have no clue as to why Fox (Neil Cavuto) would have given him face time.

Here is what Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation had to say today:

… Lewis claims he is a Tea Party activist as well as a pro-life activist. He is in fact a protest candidate, running on the sole issue of abortion.

David Lewis was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News yesterday. To call Lewis a dim bulb would be a serious understatement.

… Lewis’ interview was not just bad, it was awful. The Tea Party has no central leadership, such as the Republicans or the Democrats, so anyone can call themselves a “Tea Party Candidate” and have that name hung on them.

Lewis proves in his interview that he is totally clueless.

I will say something about Neil Cavuto, which is this: He’s probably mad as a hornet that someone at Fox booked this guy.

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UPDATE: Another Tea Party activist has informed me that they couldn’t find Mr. Lewis’s name on a relevant mailing list containing over 8,000 names.

Homebuilding: Another Miserable Month; Builders Appear to Be Stockpiling Permits

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:15 am

From the Census Bureau:

BUILDING PERMITS

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 620,000. This is 3.2 percent (±1.0%) above the revised July rate of 601,000 and is 7.8 percent (±1.4%) above the August 2010 estimate of 575,000.

Single-family authorizations in August were at a rate of 413,000; this is 2.5 percent (±0.9%) above the revised July figure of 403,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 178,000 in August.

HOUSING STARTS

Privately-owned housing starts in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000. This is 5.0 percent (±10.6%)* below the revised July estimate of 601,000 and is 5.8 percent (±12.0%)* below the August 2010 rate of 606,000.

Single-family housing starts in August were at a rate of 417,000; this is 1.4 percent (±10.3%)* below the revised July figure of 423,000. The August rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 148,000.

In terms of economic activity, the starts info is more important than the permits, as Derek Kravitz at the Associated Press explained in his coverage of the Census Bureau’s report this morning:

August home building fell 5 pct., slide continues

… Home construction is down nearly 6 percent over the past year. But permits are up nearly 8 percent. That suggests builders aren’t working on new homes, but may be preparing to start dormant projects when the economy improves.

Real-world translation: They’re waiting for Barack Obama to be voted out of office, or for convincing evidence that it’s really going to happen.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘From ‘Scandal-Free’ to Near Scandal Fatigue in Three Weeks’) Is Up (See Updates)

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:40 am

It’s here.

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

I appreciate the editors at PJM turning the column around in less than 18 hours.

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UPDATE: The column is built around debunking American University professor Allan Lichtman’s late August assertion to US News that based on his 13 “keys” to winning the presidency, Barack Obama will win reelection. Specifically, he said: “I don’t see how Obama can lose.”

Lichtman says that a candidate has to win eight out of 13 of his “keys.” In late August, he had Obama ahead on nine of them, and in a toss-up in one. The column takes it back to eight for sure, and questions whether or not the killing of Osama bin Laden constitutes an electorally meaningful “foreign/military success” — which if it’s not (and I don’t think it is), would take Obama back to seven “keys,” and make him a Lichtman loser.

Today, there may be reason to believe that Lichtman’s key for an incumbent president requiring lack of a serious primary challenger may be in jeopardy, as Seth McLaughlin the Washington Times reports:

Liberals vow to challenge Obama in Democratic primaries

Worried the liberal voice is being drowned out in the presidential campaign, progressive leaders said Monday they want to field a slate of candidates against President Obama in the Democratic primaries to make him stake out liberal stances as he seeks re-election.

Ralph Nader warns that without an intraparty challenge the liberal agenda “will be muted and ignored,” the one-man primary will kill voter enthusiasm and voters won’t get a chance to reflect on the real differences that divide the Democratic and Republican parties.

“What we are looking at now is the dullest presidential campaign since Walter Mondale — and that’s saying something, believe me,” Mr. Nader told The Washington Times.

The group’s call has been endorsed by more than 45 other liberal leaders. They want to recruit six candidates who bring expertise ranging from poverty to the military.

Mr. Nader said the intent is not to defeat Mr. Obama but to make him focus on issues that might get lost in a purely Obama-versus-GOP discussion.

Given that the goal is not to defeat Obama, it looks fundamentally unserious, except for one thing: If the challengers nibble away 20% or so of the primary vote, that will be a sign of weakness every bit as clear as the weakness in Bush 41 Pat Buchanan exposed during the 1992 GOP primaries when he won perhaps 20% of the vote.

On the other hand, loony lefties claiming Obama isn’t “progressive” enough can be used by Team Obama as evidence that he really is (cough, cough) a centrist.

UPDATE 2: I was going to use this point as a collection point for updates on Solyndra, LightSquared and Gunwalker, but there’s too much volume. I’ll address updates on those matters in a later post.

Positivity: Heroes of the flood: Harrisburg River Rescue makes more than 100 rescues, evacuations

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From the Susquehanna River area in Pennsylvania:

Published: Monday, September 19, 2011, 8:00 AM
Updated: Monday, September 19, 2011, 9:09 AM

Their compensation is the occasional “thank you” and the satisfaction of helping their fellow man.

They never utter the word hero. A good day is going home alive and, perhaps, saving a life.

Their nemesis is the Susquehanna River and all its shifty, sneaky ways of snatching lives.

Typically, the victims are users of the river, even lovers of it — the swimmers, boaters and fishermen who flock there willingly.

Floods are different.

In such disasters, the river reaches out to claim its casualties. Its swift, watery arms can rise up at a moment’s notice.

Then, the men and women of Harrisburg River Rescue can be the difference between life and death.

They are a specialized lot, this band of some 35 intensely trained divers, boaters, EMTs and rescuers.

Some have been squaring off against the Susquehanna since 1972, when the rains of Agnes swelled it to a staggering 32 feet.

But the river is a patient foe. The team can go weeks without a call. They average about 85 calls a year.

Some responders hooked on adrenaline get itchy and go elsewhere. Meanwhile, the men and women of River Rescue keep training to stay sharp amid the Susquehanna’s sleepy lulls.

Each one of the rescuers knows it’s a matter of time. Then, they’ll need all their wits, all their training and all their teamwork to survive the river’s watery world and all its sunken, hidden traps. …

The rescuers are all volunteers.

Go here for the rest of the story.