April 9, 2012

After Friday Optimism, AP’s Wiseman Provides Five Reasons Future Job Growth May Not Be So Great After All

On Friday (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the Associated Press’s headline at Paul Wiseman’s dispatch after the release of the government’s March jobs report was: “US job market takes a break after hiring binge.” It was as if they just knew that March was an aberration, and that the “binging” would resume in April.

The markets weren’t as convinced today: “Investors had a three-day weekend to brood over disappointing job growth in March. When they got back to work Monday and delivered their verdict, it wasn’t good.” Wiseman and AP regrouped today, identifying “5 reasons the US job market might be weakening”:

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From the ‘There Is No Vote Fraud (/BS)’ Dept.

From James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas:

Well, at least we know Eric Holder is registered for November.

The establishment press won’t care about this.

Awesome work, Mr. O’Keefe.

More on Emanuel ‘Car Wash’ Cleaver Coverage: AP Does Local Story, Doesn’t ID Party or Black Caucus Chairmanship

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 3:05 pm

EmanuelCleaver2012Well, the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, apparently has Missouri Democratic Congressman and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver’s back. As of 2:40 p.m., there is no national story relevant to Cleaver’s unpaid $1 million-plus loan at the wire service’s national site, even though information published by the Kansas City Star late Friday evening (interesting timing; HT to KC Star’s David Helling, who later informed me that the story made Page A-1 of the Star’s Saturday print edition, while the original received the same placement on Friday) indicates that taxpayers could be out up to $1.1 million because the Small Business Administration=backed a loan to Cleaver’s car wash business back in 2002 which is has been seriously delinquent for years. The Bank has sued for repayment.

There is an unbylined local AP story which appears to have been published shortly after midnight on Monday (shown in full because of its brevity and for fair use and discussion purposes):

APonCleaverCarWash040912

Predictably, the AP doesn’t identify Cleaver as a Democrat, or as CBC Chairman, even though an earlier KC Star report at least did the former.

Here’s more detail from the late Friday the KC Star report by Helling and Steve Kraske:

Taxpayers could have to cover Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s bad loan

Taxpayers could be on the hook for up to $1.1 million to cover a bad loan for U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s car wash in Grandview, the Small Business Administration said Friday.

SBA officials said the agency had guaranteed roughly 75 percent of the 2002 Bank of America loan to the firm that owns the business, Cleaver Company LLC. In a lawsuit filed March 30, Bank of America said the company — along with Cleaver and his wife, Dianne — owed more than $1.46 million in principal and interest on the loan.

That means the SBA, a federal agency charged with helping small businesses, could end up paying the bank three-fourths of Cleaver’s principal and interest debt, or roughly $1.085 million, if the Democratic congressman’s company cannot meet its obligations.

Officials cautioned that the exact amount of the SBA’s responsibility might not be known for months, and could be substantially less.

The bank’s lawsuit asks a Jackson County court to appoint a receiver for the car wash, who could sell or lease it to satisfy at least part of the debt, incurred before Cleaver was elected to Congress. Any of those proceeds would be used to reduce SBA’s exposure on the loan.

… If the SBA has to pay its loan guarantee, the funds will come from taxpayers and fees charged to lenders and borrowers. In its fiscal year 2012 budget request, the agency asked Congress for $161 million to cover higher than expected loan subsidy requirements.

The last paragraph indicates that SBA loan defaults, which have generally been a problem during almost the entire existence of the agency’s loan programs, are increasing, or are at least expected to — and these aren’t “subsidy requirements,” they’re guarantee payments on defaulted debt.

As I asserted earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), “There is virtually no doubt that a Republican or conservative in similar circumstances would have had his or her party tagged early, would have had his or her congressional leadership capacity promptly identified, and would have been the recipient of national AP coverage.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Kid Glove Treatment For Emanuel ‘Car Wash’ Cleaver at KC Star; AP Has No National Story

As of 11:55 a.m., a search at the Associated Press’s national site on “Cleaver” returns nothing related to an April 6 story reported at the Kansas City star (HT Nice Deb via Gateway Pundit) that Bank of America has sued Missouri Congressman and Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver for repayment of a $1 million-plus loan relating to a car wash.

The KC Star didn’t exactly provide exemplary coverage in its report. One would think from reading the story’s headline and first two paragraphs that Bank of America and the congressman are having some kind of difficult conversation. In paragraph 3, we finally learn that there really is a lawsuit involved. It took the Star seven paragraphs to indicate that taxpayers may be on the hook and eight paragraphs to tag Cleaver as a Dem (impact-minimizing words in bold):

(headline) Bank wants Missouri Rep. Cleaver to pay $1.5 million on car wash loan

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s car wash headache is raging once again.

The bank that loaned the Kansas City congressman and his wife $1.3 million in 2002 to buy the Grandview Auto Wash at 12204 Blue Ridge Extension is now demanding payment of more than $1.5 million, after the Cleavers repeatedly fell behind on repaying the loan.

The suit, filed last week in Jackson County Circuit Court, said the demand for repayment came after three attempts to delay foreclosure. Bank of America also is seeking attorney’s fees and a receiver to protect collateral.

“The Cleaver Company failed and refused, and continues to fail and refuse, to pay the outstanding obligations due and owing … under the note and other loan documents,” the lawsuit said.

In an email statement, Cleaver said, “This is a business dispute. The business has been run by an outside manager for years.” He said because it was a legal matter, he would have no further comment.

According to court documents, the outstanding principal totals $1.2 million with interest totaling $240,545 as of March 6. Late fees have reached $54,587. Both Cleavers had personally guaranteed the debts, according to the suit.

The loan was originally part of a Small Business Administration program. It was not clear Thursday how much money, if any, taxpayers will have to provide if the loan defaults.

The car wash became a hot topic when Cleaver, a Democrat and former Kansas City mayor, ran for the U.S. House for the first time in 2004.

Awww, the poor guy. He has a “headache” because a bank “wants” a loan to be repaid.

The Start never identified Cleaver as CBC Chairman.

Those who followed the run-up to the passage of ObamaCare in the House in March 2010 may recall that Congressman Cleaver was among those who originally claimed to have been spat upon by Tea Party-inspired protesters. Despite mountains of videos taken of the march through the protesting crowd by Cleaver and others, no definitive evidence supporting Cleaver’s claim ever materialized. A $100,000 pledge by the late Andrew Breitbart promised to anyone who could provide such proof was to my knowledge never claimed.

There is virtually no doubt that a Republican or conservative in similar circumstances would have had his or her party tagged early, would have had his or her congressional leadership capacity promptly identified, and would have been the recipient of national AP coverage.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (040912)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 10:00 am

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

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Michelle Malkin: (“Marion Barry and the Left’s hatred of Asian entrepreneurs”) — As an Asian entrepreneur who also happens to be a blogger and columnist, she should know.

This is a longstanding hostility which at bottom is rooted in jealousy and envy, as this item from about 2001 indicates: “Asian activists consistently mention that racial problems occur when Asian merchants move into predominantly black neighborhoods and flourish. The vicious year-long black boycott of a Korean store in Brooklyn in 1990, and the looting and burning of Korean stores in south-central Los Angeles during the 1992 Rodney King riots serve as shining examples of conflicts linked to economic disparities.” The “disparities” occurred because the Asian merchants were successfully pursuing the American Dream providing products and services people wanted to buy — which made them targets when civil order broke down.

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At Heritage (“Gulf Coast Businesses Suffer Strain of Offshore Drilling Slowdown”) — Just watch:

What’s really going on is a “permitorium.”

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Can’t miss an opportunity to post an updated version of the Obama administration’s stimulus unemployment rate promise graph:

StimulusUnempVsRealityThru0312

Related item from James Pethokoukis: “The big March jobs miss — and why the real unemployment rate sure ain’t 8.2%.”

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Can’t make this up: “Energy Dept. offers prize to create mobile apps that already exist”

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Impeach Eric Holder Update: “White House blocking access to ‘Fast and Furious’ witness who wants to testify”

The Administration’s Press

AP_largerlogo2012 APobamaPress2012And its propagandists.

(“Microphone” artwork on left mostly consists of a thumbnail image created by Ed Driscoll of PJ Media.com, and has been used with permission.)

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Note: This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Saturday.

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The Associated Press describes itself as “The Essential Global News Network.”

It is indeed essential — to Barack Obama, and for the next seven months, his reelection campaign. Recent management actions and “news” coverage at the AP confirm that it is no longer pejorative to call the wire service the Administration’s Press, or even the Administration’s Propagandists.

How the AP conducts itself and reports the news is no arcane matter.

Many if not most Americans have no idea how often they meet up with AP content every day.  Those top-of-hour two-minute syndicated radio broadcasts you hear on the way to and from work? There’s a good chance that at least half of its content was adapted from AP copy. The national and international stories in your newspaper’s print edition and at its web site? Most of it probably came from AP. The national TV networks? In terms of beat reporting, they’re mere shadows of their former selves, and liberally use content from AP — and, to a lesser extent, the New York Times, which is no longer even trying to be the “newspaper of record” it was in previous decades — as their starting point, and often their ending point. This in turn filters down to local TV newsrooms, which don’t have the resources to pay much direct attention to goings-on outside their city or state.

Organizationally, the AP is the oddest of entities, a “not-for-profit cooperative of news organizations … solely focused on finding, reporting and distributing news.” Its tax status gives it an obvious advantage over anyone who would dare try to launch a competitive enterprise of similar scope (gosh, is AP even exempt from sales tax on purchases of materials?). Although some dues-paying news outlets have become restless in the past few years, it is relatively insulated from the normal financial pressures businesses face.

The wire service’s journalists are represented by the News Media Guild, a militant subset of the Communications Workers of America. The AP became unionized in the wake of a 1937 Supreme Court decision. Dissenting justices in the 5-4 case contended that the First Amendment’s freedom of the press should keep news organizations free from all government interference in their operations — in this case, at the hands of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ruthlessly aggressive National Labor Relations Board. They prophetically warned that allowing journalists to form unions would forever compromise the ability of a media outlet to “preserve its news service free from color, bias, or distortion.” Did it ever. The AP should be all about, and only about, who, what, where, when, why, and how — just the facts. Instead, the current trendy phrase at AP is “Journalism With Voice,” which at bottom means “more interpretation,” i.e., even more spin and bias.

Last year, in the midst of the mayhem in Wisconsin over Governor Scott Walker’s budget-repair legislation, supposedly objective AP reporters constantly insisted that Walker was “eliminating” and “stripping” public-sector collective-bargaining rights and that he was committing an “assault on the public employee unions.” A year ago, after GOP Congressman Paul Ryan introduced his budget plan, the Guild’s web site ran an appalling cartoon making the “humorous” claim that Ryan’s real goal was “to euthanize the elderly, and then process them into tasty snack crackers.”

The Guild thinks so little of even the perception of objectivity that it was “fully behind the radical message of Occupy Wall Street,” and hasn’t given any indication of modifying that support, despite the movement’s crimes, violence, sexual assaults, filth, and unreimbursed costs to taxpayers. Demonstrating that it has also been completely coopted in the 75 years since the Supreme Court decision just noted, management assigned seven reporters to cover the largely disbanded movement’s six-month anniversary; the resulting report still managed to avoid any reference to Occupy’s myriad documented offenses.

Just four of the many AP outrages against journalism in the past two weeks include the following:

  • An AP reporter wrote that supporters of the Keystone Pipeline “say it will create over 1,000 jobs.” Well, I guess “over a dozen” would also have been technically true. Supporters’ estimates actually range from 2,500 to 500,000, depending on whether they are referring to direct jobs or are also including gains from spin-off employment.
  • When Congress unanimously rejected Obama’s farcical budget proposal, AP waited until the fifth paragraph of its report to tell readers that the vote was 414-0 (specifics almost guaranteed not to get mentioned over the airwaves), and would only describe it as “overwhelmingly rejected” by a “GOP-run Congress” in order “to embarrass Democrats.”
  • In the first four days after the New Black Panthers issued a bounty for the capture of George Zimmerman in the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, AP reports cryptically noted the existence of a bounty just once, with no mention of its source.
  • A truly bizarre and Orwellian sequence of AP dispatches over the course of one business day on the consumer confidence report from the Conference Board went from “falls” to “dips slightly” to “roughly flat” to (brace yourself) a “rosy outlook.” The index fell from 71.6 in February to 70.2 in March.

The AP cranks out a constant barrage of risible reportage to relatively disengaged voters. Thanks to news feeds on smart phones, tablets, and computers, the servings of half-truths and falsehoods are on average probably more frequent, and thus over time more damaging. Meanwhile, New Media’s center-right presence on consumer devices is lagging.

AP management also seems to no longer care about appearances. Outgoing CEO Dean Singleton’s introduction of President Obama at the wire service’s annual luncheon on April 3 was so disgracefully obsequious that, according to Charles Hurt at the Washington Times, “[I]t was more like he proposed to him.”

Team Obama’s reelection campaign could hardly be happier about all of this.

Positivity: Barbie goes bald for kids affected by hair loss

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

BaldBarbieLGCool gesture (HT Daryn Kagan):

Toymaker Mattel announced last week it will create bald Barbie dolls for girls affected by hair loss, and distribute the popular toys to children’s hospitals and charities in early 2013

The move grows from from an online petition to create a bald Barbie because “losing hair is a hard thing to deal with, especially for little girls.”

Jane Bingham, of Sewell, N.J., started the Beautiful and Bald Barbie Facebook page on Dec. 20 after she lost her hair last year to chemotherapy after treatment for follicular non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a blood cancer, which upset her 9-year-old daughter.

Her goal was 1,000 “likes” in a month. They reached that in five days, and, at last count, stood at more than 150,000 “likes.”

“I love that both companies are making these dolls,” said Bingham, 42. “It shows kids from a young age that you’re not dependent on who you are by your hair.”

Mattel has a “policy of not forwarding unsolicited product ideas to our design teams,” the company has said. It didn’t create the doll in direct response to the Facebook group, “but they helped us realize how important this was for us to do,” said spokesperson Alan Hilowitz.

Bingham and Rebecca Sypin, the Facebook group’s cofounder, say the company told them privately in February it would make a bald friend for Barbie.

Toymaker MGA Entertainment also told the women about its plans to create bald dolls, proceeds of which will go to charity. Its bald Bratz and Moxie Girlz dolls hit toystore shelves this summer.

Barbie’s bald friend, whose name hasn’t been released, will not be sold in stores.

Rather the company will donate the dolls to children’s hospitals in Canada and the United States and a few charities “to get the dolls directly into the hands of children who can most benefit from the unique play experience,” said a statement from Mattel. …

Go here for the rest of the story.