October 14, 2011

As ‘Occupy’ Continues, Evening News Ratings Slide a Bit

Earlier today, Matthew Balan at NewsBusters noted how the “Big Three Nets Trumpet Wall Street Protesters ‘Proclaiming Victory.’” HIs report concentrated on the morning shows, but a Media Research Center Reality Check showed the that the fawning has also been present in evening news coverage.

Evening show network executives, however, may be less than thrilled about the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd coverage, and secretly hoping for the whole thing to wind down. That’s because their shows, which have generally seen their ratings rise during the past twelve months, saw their combined audience fall below 21 million during the week of October 3, with CBS suffering a particularly sharp drop (comparisons are to previous week):

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Warning: Protect Brain Cells Before Viewing (‘Faceook Official’)

Filed under: General,News from Other Sites — Tom @ 3:27 pm

Okay, it’s Friday afternoon, and I’ve had it with news and politics.

Let me instead introduce readers and viewers to what AdAge calls five good excuses to quit Facebook (or in my case, never use it effectively, if using it effectively is even possible) — Chad, Pete, Brayden, Nico and KX:

To me, it almost doesn’t matter whether it’s serious or someone’s idea of camp. Blech.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101411)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 12:31 pm

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder will follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Michelle Malkin: “Before 9/11, there was 10/12. The USS Cole bombing, eleven years ago today, should have taught us all that the jihadists’ war on the infidel West started a long, long time ago.” Obviously, it took almost a year before the nation appreciated the scope of that war. Do we still?

At the Wall Street Journal, Kim Strassel has a very good question for Rick Perry — “How, exactly, is his state’s vaunted “Emerging Technology Fund”—which has dumped some 200 million taxpayer dollars into private companies—any different from Obama programs that subsidized the likes of Solyndra?”

“Stupid Party” Update: “The GOP is set, yet again, to have a debate on MSNBC. Seriously.”

Mona Charen at Townhall (“Obama’s Weakness Invited Iran’s Plot”) — “If it wasn’t for a lucky break, Washington D.C., this autumn, would have been the scene of a massive explosion detonated at a high-end restaurant, with scores and perhaps hundreds killed and maimed.”

John Ransom, also at Townhall“Republican US Senator from Indiana Richard Lugar resigned from the board of a radical left activism group called the Campus Network after the Tea Party endorsed challenger in the GOP Senate primary, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, accused Lugar of supporting the big government agenda of the group, including support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.” The scary thing is that this wouldn’t even have come up if Mourdock wasn’t challenging Lugar. Dick Lugar really, really needs to be defeated in next year’s primary. But if form holds, at least if they’re like their Buckeye State brethren at ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only), the Indiana Republican Party establishment will circle the wagons.

Wesley Pruden, the retired take-no-prisoners editor of the Washington Times (“An Evil Wind In The Arab Spring”) — “We’ve ‘enjoyed’ the Arab spring, celebrated by one and nearly all. But if you’re a Christian under the wheels of an Egyptian army truck, it looks a lot like winter.” Anderson Cooper was apparently unavailable for comment.

At Heritage (“Morning Bell: Why Obamacare Might Cost You a Job”) – ”Back in February 2010, when Congress was still debating the Obamacare legislation, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) proclaimed to America that the law “will create 400,000 jobs almost immediately.” But according to a new report by Heritage’s James Sherk, Obamacare will have the opposite effect, pricing many unskilled workers out of full-time employment due to the law’s requirement that employers offer health benefits to full-time employees.”

Nancy Pelosi, via the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso — If you don’t think taxpayers should subsidize abortions through Obamacare (something which has never been allowed and which, by the way, would constitute the de facto end of the Hyde Amendment which prohibited the practice and was upheld by the Supreme Court), you “want women to die on the floor.”

Poignant humor from Peggy Noonan (who, it must not be forgotten, fell under the hopey-changey Obama spell when it mattered) — “Ten years ago, Steve Jobs was alive, Bob Hope was alive, Johnny Cash was alive. Now we’re outta jobs, outta hope and outta cash.”

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘October 14, 2008: The Day the Economy as We Knew It Died’) Is Up (Add-ons: Who Was in on Paulson’s TARP Hijacking? Qs for 2012 Prez Contenders)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:00 am

It’s here.

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

The topic: “Hank Paulson’s ‘gun to the head‘ hijacking of TARP, and the sickening silence which followed.”

What follows is a “cutting-room floor item” and a tie-in to the current presidential campaign.

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Left on the cutting room floor: There was no space to address a critical question which honest historical inquiry will hopefully someday answer — “Was what happened on October 14, 2008, when then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson almost certainly illegally betrayed the Troubled Relief Program original intent and forced the nation’s largest banks to take preferred equity ‘investments’ done as a result of being blindsided by the scope of the problem and the need to immediately get liquidity into the banking system, as claimed — or was it something he knew he was going to do all along?

Evidence of the latter follows.

First, the amount of money involved in TARP as originally intended — to have Treasury buy up “toxic” mortgages — was literally made up, with no attempt to relate the amount of money in the legislation to the possible size of scope of the problem. On September 23, 2008, Josh ZumBrum at Forbes noted the following:

… some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is quoted with something which should be remembered next fall: “Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, says his office has gotten ‘close to zero’ calls in support of the $700 billion plan proposed by the administration. He doubts it’ll happen immediately either. ‘I don’t think it has to be a week” he says. ‘If we do it right, then we need to take as long as it needs.’”

Second, in hindsight, the “really large number” claim looks like deliberate misdirection. CNN’s tracking of all bailouts, which may not be current, shows $11 trillion in commitments and $3 trillion “invested.” At the time, the American people weren’t used to hearing the word “trillion” thrown around as casually as it is today.

Third, with GM and Chrysler on the brink of collapse, the Washington wheels were already turning on how to “save” them. Buying up mortgages as the TARP legislation intended wouldn’t help that cause. “Investing” hundreds of billions in banks would, by creating the cry of “If the banks and Wall Street get bailouts, why not Main Street?”

If one concludes or learns that this is what Paulson planned to do all along, then the question becomes: “Who else was in on it?” Again, it’s an “if” question, but here’s my take on who the candidates would be and the likelihood that they knew:

  • New York Fed Chairman Tim Geithner — almost certainly;
  • Ben Bernanke — just short of almost certainly (at the very latest, the day after the legislation passed;
  • President George W. Bush — probably not, at least at the time TARP passed. He probably learned what Paulson wanted to do a few days after the original TARP passed, and didn’t find the courage to stop it, fire Paulson, or call out the deception;
  • Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid — probably;
  • Barack Obama and his Democratic presidential campaign chief David Axelrod — probably;
  • GOP presidential nominee John McCain, the candidate who infamously suspended his campaign to look like a statesman and ended up looking like a fool — almost definitely not;
  • House Republican Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — almost definitely not.
  • Key members of the press, particularly at the New York Times and the Associated Press, who both tried to make what Paulson did look like a matter over which he had no real choice — 50-50.

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TARP and the 2012 campaign: No honest discussion of “TARP” is possible without an understanding of the difference between the law Congress passed and what Hank Paulson (probably illegally) did.

The presidential candidates need to answer two questions.

First, what was your original position on the TARP legislation? Barack Obama supported it. Most GOP candidates with the exception of Ron Paul and probably Michele Bachmann opposed supported it.

I totally get the idea that you can criticize candidates on the basis of principle over their support of the TARP legislation. I also get the idea that if you believed that it was a one-time fixable problem like the early 1990s savings and loan debacle, you might grit your teeth and say, “okay” (I would not be among them).

But you can’t criticize anyone who originally supported TARP based on what actually transpired, because the TARP which passed isn’t the TARP which was implemented. You can argue that support of the original TARP gave Hank Paulson the cover to do what he illegally did; but you can’t track actual results of what people voted on against what actually happened, because what was intended never actually happened.

That leads to the next question: Where were you when Hank Paulson hijacked TARP?

My takes:

  • Barack Obama — almost definitely celebrated.
  • Mitt Romney — He should have objected strenuously. He almost definitely didn’t. Defense: If he thought about it, John McCain probably talked him out of it. (Given his connections, though, it would be worth knowing if Romney was aware of Paulson’s possible intention, as discussed above, to hijack TARP from the get-go.)
  • Herman Cain — was in private life, but probably had an active radio talk show. Cain’s current position is that he supported the original TARP legislation but opposes how it was implemented. In other words, what he’s saying, using terms which are in my opinion far too polite, is that he opposed Paulson’s hijacking. I think it would be very important to go back to his shows to see what he was saying on October 14 and 15, 2008. But even if he was wrong in principle for supporting the original TARP (and in my opinion, he was), Cain is the only candidate who is publicly recognizing the difference between what Congress passed and what Paulson did.
  • Rick Perry — as a state governor not contemplating a presidential run, he’s arguably off the hook for not saying anything at the time, which he probably didn’t.
  • Michele Bachmann — should have spoken out. Did she?
  • Newt Gingrich — perceived as a policy wonk extraordinaire. Should have been out there. Almost definitely wasn’t.
  • Rick Santorum — was in private life.

RIP Dennis Ritchie, Computer Programming Pioneer

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

RIP, or I guess we could say, “C” you in the afterlife — from the Associated Press in San Francisco:

Oct 13, 2:58 PM EDT

Dennis Ritchie, a pioneer in computer programming, has died at age 70, according to his longtime employer.

Ritchie created the popular C programming language and helped create the Unix operating software. He died a month after his birthday, according to his biography on a webpage of Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs. Ritchie joined Bell Labs in the late 1960s.

The company confirmed his death to The Associated Press but would not disclose the cause of death or when Ritchie died. A spokeswoman said the company was trying to contact his family.

Ritchie is best known for his contributions to computer programming and software. The C programming language, which Ritchie developed in the early 1970′s, is still popular. It has gone through a number of upgrades, and it is commonly used for website development and other computer tasks. The Unix operating software also surged in popularity. It and its offshoots, including the open-source Linux, are widely used today, in corporate servers and even cellphones.

Ritchie’s biography on the Bell Labs site says that he was born on Sept. 9, 1941 in Bronxville, N.Y., and studied physics and math at Harvard University.

“My undergraduate experience convinced me that I was not smart enough to be a physicist, and that computers were quite neat,” Ritchie wrote. “My graduate school experience convinced me that I was not smart enough to be an expert in the theory of algorithms and also that I liked procedural languages better than functional ones.”

Jeong Kim, president of Bell Labs, wrote in a blog post Thursday that Ritchie was “truly an inspiration to all of us, not just for his many accomplishments, but because of who he was as a friend, an inventor, and a humble and gracious man.”

The referenced blog post is here.