December 8, 2011

LAT: ‘Obama Has Been a Regular Church-goer For Decades’

Over at PJ Media’s Tatler section, Roger Simon caught Alana Semuels at the Los Angeles Times in what has to be a lead candidate for the NOn-Eric Holder howler of the day.

In running down the degree of religious seriousness of a few more recent presidents in an article portraying GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s heavy involvement with Mormonism, Semuels wrote (bold is mine):

George W. Bush is a born-again Christian; President Obama has been a regular church-goer for decades; Jimmy Carter taught Sunday school. But no previous president or serious candidate can rival Romney for the time and energy spent in running a religious organization and ministering to its members.

This statement opens up a two-pronged problem, which Simon duly notes:

Let’s leave aside the eye roller that with “regular” church-going Obama was still somehow able to miss the multiple racist and anti-American excrescences of his pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright (or so the then candidate assured us) and cut straight to the chase – the life of our president since he has been in the White House.

Simon goes on to cite a Time Magazine item from December 2009, i.e., eleven months into Obama’s presidency, called “No Church-Going Christmas for the First Family,” in which Amy Sullivan wrote that “The Obamas have attended Sunday services in Washington three times this year.” To understate, most pastors wouldn’t call a congregation member who has shown up three times in eleven months a “regular.”

Simon also notes that in September 2010, Ben Smith at the Politico wrote of the First Family’s quite infrequent church attendance, observing that “Since arriving in Washington as president, Obama — who was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago — has largely chosen not to attend public church services because of the possible disruptions his presence, and the increased security, would cause a congregation.”

In other words: Regular, schmegular.

So why would the LA Times so brazenly misrepresent the President’s church attendance record? Simon’s theory:

… they lie or gild the lily or prevaricate or whatever you want to call it to protect their man, even in relatively monitor situations like this. It is engrained in them. They are probably not capable of writing or even seeing the truth.

Sounds about right.

Cross-posted at

Second Pass: Year Seven’s Annual ‘Christmas’ and ‘Holiday’ Searches

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 6:18 pm

Xmas2010As was the case just before Thanksgiving, I’m just doing the Google News searches quickly today, given other commitments.

For those who are relatively new and need background, go here to last year’s post on the first set of searches on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Basically, the idea is to demonstrate the press’s preference for using the word “holiday” over “Christmas” in describing the shopping season, while using the word “Christmas” with greater frequency in connection with layoffs, and to see how things might be changing over time.

Here goes this year’s second pass:

As was the case in this year’s first pass, that seems like an extraordinarily low percentage for the “Christmas” component.

Now on to the second set of searches:

  • Christmas layoffs (not in quotes, also excluding the word “challenger” to ensure that about 30 items relating to the mass layoffs report issued by Challenger & Christmas were exluded) — 230, or 24.6% (November 22 was 137, or 28.8%)
  • Holiday layoffs (not in quotes) — 556, or 59.4% (November 22 was 223, or 47.0%)
  • Holidays layoffs (not in quotes) — 150, or 16.0% (November 22 was 115, or 24.2%)

One of the basic truths found for the past six years running continues to hold. The press is far more likely to use “Christmas” in connection with layoffs (more than twice as likely in the most recent set — 24.6% vs. 11.5%), an obviously negative thing, than it is to use “Christmas” in connection with shopping and commerce, a generally positive or neutral thing.

I’ll be doing a post on this year’s combined results a couple of days before Christmas.

Unemployment Claims: Nice One-Week Drop to 381K SA

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:58 am

Alternate headline: “Maybe, Finally, Almost 2-1/2 Years After the Recession Ended, a Genuine Improvement?”

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending December 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 381,000, a decrease of 23,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 404,000. The 4-week moving average was 393,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 396,250.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 523,642 in the week ending December 3, an increase of 151,002 from the previous week. There were 585,711 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

Business Insider’s email predicted 395K. The previous week’s revision was +2K (from 402K to 404K).

I’d hold the party favors for the time being, because the week after Thanksgiving is a quirky, high-volume week, and all required data may not have been provided on a timely basis (though last year’s subsequent upward adjustment was a fairly typical 4K). But for now, it’s decent news, which needs further post-revision reduction to 350K or so consistently for several months before the improvement can be considered genuine.

Blogger Activism Gets Results: County Employee Withdraws Her Candidacy for Lucas County Recorder

Maggie Thurber, who to be clear did the lioness’s share of the dirty work on this one, has news about something I noted in the first item at yesterday’s Lucid Link’s post (links are in original, except that I added a link to today’s Blade, which as will be seen later, is above and beyond the call of duty):

I’ve previously written about Toledo School Board member and current county employee Lisa Sobecki’s ineligibility to run for partisan office. I also questioned why Lucas County Commissioners (who are fully aware of the prohibition) and The Blade failed to raise this issue when she announced her intent.

After seeing on my blog analytics that someone from The Blade had read my posts, I thought the issue might be highlighted. And, according to today’s paper, Sobecki has decided not to run for recorder …

… Sobecki has done the right thing. She should have known the law – but she did stop the illegal act of collecting signatures as soon as she learned of the prohibition.

While she may be disappointed that she cannot run for county recorder, she should be angry at being poorly served by her Democratic Party and her fellow elected officials in the commissioner’s office.

… Apparently, Democrats are used to getting away with such things and it’s only this blog and an interview on WSPD that prompted further attention to the issue.

But Sobecki may still have a problem. After being hired in 2010 by the county to work at their Department of Job and Family Services, she ran for – and was elected – to the partisan position of precinct chair. I wrote about this violation in February. If she hasn’t resigned that position, she is still in violation of state law and should face the consequences of being in violation for the last 18 months.

… This highlights why bloggers are so vital in this media age.

… We need more people willing to look into such issues and bring them to the attention of the public, and then hold our elected officials accountable.

Yes we do. It’s clear that the Blade didn’t get off its complacent collective butt until Maggie raised the issue, and as usual didn’t give credit where due.

I have a feeling that quite a few precinct chairs throughout the state have the same conflict Sobecki still has. State Attorney General Mike DeWine should look into it, pronto.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (120811)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

Todays’ roster is a collection of real jaw-droppers.


Jon Corzine: “I simply do not know where the money is.” We’re talking about $1.2 billion of money in customers’ accounts which should have been untouchable by the, uh, MFs at MF Global.

At Fox News (and, I predict, almost nowhere in the establishment press) — “Lawmakers Blast Administration For Calling Fort Hood Massacre ‘Workplace Violence’”

At the Washington Times“Terrorists said to be infiltrating military; ‘Fort Hood attack was not anomaly,’ lawmaker contends at Hill hearing.” I guess this means that Fort Hood really wasn’t a random act of “workplace violence.” Zheesh.

Caught by Joe Newby at — (“Obama falsely claims no GOP Senators voted for payroll tax cut”). The fact is, as Joe points out, that at least one relevant roll call vote containing “payroll tax relief” was 20 for (all GOP) and 78 against (all Dems plus 26 GOP).

Dayton Daily News (“Energy program shows shoddy insulation work; Local energy program unable to keep up with work volume”) — “A local program that pays to improve energy efficiency in low-income homes grew too fast with too much money from federal stimulus spending for the agency to keep up with inspections of the work, a Dayton Daily News investigation has found.” $18 million is involved. That’s for just one relatively small city, in just one stimulus program.

Dayton Daily News, from a couple of weeks ago — “Enrollment in the (free cell phone for low-income households) program in Ohio has grown from 280,000 in 2008 to nearly 600,000 this year, and the cost of the program in Ohio has grown from $30.4 million in 2008 to $58.9 million in 2010. Letters went out last week to 26,500 people in Ohio — 5 percent of all subscribers — who are suspected of signing up for more than one line. This could mean as much as $265,000 a month in overpayments. The letters give phone users 35 days to pick one carrier.” That’s even before addressing whether ineligible people are getting free phone service. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if that problem is also rampant.

Positivity: Ron Santo Elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

chicago-cubs-ron-santo-lou-pinella2-244x300Former Chicago Cub first baseman Ron Santo, who died last year, has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Before excerpting the story, a few observations:

  • Many and perhaps even most Cub fans didn’t appreciate Santo when he played; actually, though I was less impressed than I should have been, some Cub fans were indefensibly hostile for reasons I’ll never quite understand.
  • Sportwriters who never gave Santo more than 43% of the vote during his initial 15 years of eligibility didn’t appreciate how good he was when he played.
  • The old Veterans Committee which kept Santo out of the Hall for another 17 years didn’t appreciate how good Santo was when he played — and of all the groups, has the least excuse for their failure to induct him while he was still alive.
  • It took Ron Santo’s 21 years as a broadcaster, the related goodwill build-up, and his death last year to convince the Hall’s reconstructed and renamed Golden Era Committee to finally appreciate how good Santo was when he played.

Here’s the story:

Updated: December 6, 2011, 5:26 PM ET

It took 32 years, but Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo was elected posthumously to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday with 93.8 percent of the vote from the Golden Era committee.

… Nominees needed at least 75 percent of the vote to be elected (12 or more). Santo was the only player chosen for the Hall of Fame, receiving 15 of 16 votes. Jim Kaat received 10 votes, while Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso received nine each.

… “This is a great day for baseball and for Cubs fans everywhere,” MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “I am thrilled that the memory of my dear friend Ron Santo will be preserved forever in the halls of Cooperstown. As a star player and a beloved broadcaster, Ron was a staple of the Cubs’ experience every single day for decades, representing all the goodwill of both the franchise and the game he loved.

“I always admired Ron’s courage and loyalty, and I miss him very much. Today, I am so proud to know that his contributions to baseball will receive the highest honor. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Ron’s wife Vicki, their four children and their grandchildren.”

Upon his induction, Santo will be the 47th Hall of Famer to have played for the Cubs. He died at age 70 on Dec. 3, 2010, from complications due to bladder cancer and pneumonia.

“It’s pretty amazing this all happened one year to the day that he died,” Santo’s wife Vicki said. “I guess you could say that it should have been earlier, but all he said was I hope I get in in my lifetime.”

Santo spent 15 years in the majors and another 21 as a broadcaster on Cubs radio. The long wait for induction had been maddening for Santo and his family. He was passed over by the veterans committee in 2003, 2005 and 2008. After that committee, comprised of current Hall of Famers, failed to elect anyone for eight consecutive years, the Hall of Fame changed the election rules.

The Golden Era committee was comprised of 16 individuals, including Hall of Fame players, baseball executives and veteran baseball reporters.

The fiery Santo becomes the 11th third baseman in history to be elected to the Hall of Fame …

Separately, Vicki Santo, a class act like her husband, dispelled any notions of bitterness:

“All he said is that ‘I hope I get it in my lifetime,’ which is certainly a reasonable request for anyone getting an honor as wonderful as this one,” Vicki Santo said in a conference call Monday. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be but the timing is amazing to me, one year to the day he died that they voted on it.

“It’s something that should’ve been [done] earlier, but it is what is meant to be, and we’re all just thrilled that he’s been elected.”

My late father is happy with Santo’s selection too.


Previous Post:
- Dec. 4, 2010 — This Old Cub Was the Real Thing

AP Kept Blago’s Party ID Out of Three Pre-Sentencing Stories on Tuesday

Wednesday afternoon, Matthew Balan at NewsBusters noted that two of the three network morning shows failed to mention disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s Democratic Party affiliation.

Not that it’s an excuse, but what was probably their primary raw material, namely three Tuesday reports from the Associated Press, completely failed to tag Blago as a Democrat, specifically the following (idea HT to NB commenter “trak65″):