May 10, 2012

WaPo: 5,400 Words on Mitt Romney’s High School Years, Marked by an Obsession Over a Hair-Cutting Incident

If the people who run the Washington Post Company need an archetypal example of why their newspaper publishing segment is in so much financial trouble (as found here: a $22.6 million first-quarter 2012 loss following on the heels of an $18.2 million loss for all of 2011) and is bleeding customers (per the Audit Board of Circulations, the paper’s daily and Sunday circulation dropped by 7.8% and 15.7%, respectively, during the year ended March 31), they only need wonder why the paper’s editors tasked Jason Horowitz, with help from Julie Tate, to produce what turned into a 5,400-word writeup (“Mitt Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents”) on Mitt Romney’s high school years in the mid-1960s which appeared Thursday.

One can tell by the headline alone that it’s an attempt at a hit piece. Horowitz led with the most damning incident he could find, and somehow gave it anti-homosexual overtones:

… John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.


AP’s Wiseman Falsely Claims That Recent Spike in Unemployment Claims ‘Coincided’ With Weaker Spring Hiring

As Zero Hedge wrote this morning in response to today’s initial unemployment claims report and the related press write-ups: “Same Trick Different Week.”

As has been so typical in analogous instances for the year or so I have been following the weekly claims numbers closely, the Associated Press (aka the Administration’s Press), Reuters, and Bloomberg headlined a “dip,” a “fall,” and a “drop” in filings for initial claims, even though the dip-fall-drop from 368,000 to 367,000 only occurred because last week’s figure was revised up from 365,000. If this week’s figure is revised up by 1,000 or more (based on the past 60 weeks, there’s at least a 95% chance of that), the dip-fall-drop will be gone-gone-gone. The AP’s Paul Wiseman produced the howler of the morning in the last of the five excerpted paragraphs which follow (bolds are mine):


Initial Unemployment Claims: 367K SA, Down From an Upwardly Revised 368K the Previous Week; NSA Claims Down 15% Year-Over-Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:51 am

From the Department of Labor:


In the week ending May 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 367,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 368,000. The 4-week moving average was 379,000, a decrease of 5,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 384,250.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 338,418 in the week ending May 5, an increase of 4,942 from the previous week. There were 397,737 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

The result was virtually the same as Business Insider’s emailed expectations of 366,000, and will almost definitely be a bit worse than expectations after the virtually inevitable upward revision next week. The seasonal adjustment factors used during the most recent week and the comparable week last year were almost identical.

Stabilizing in the 360s and 370s would be unimpressive in light of what’s needed to achieve the needed gains in employment more quickly.

Good news from Ohio: DOL’s claims figure for April 28, the most recent week-end reported, is 9,928. Though that’s up by about 400 from the previous week, it’s down by 37% from the analogous week a year ago (ended April 30), when claims were 15,755.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (051012)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

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


Positivity: Pilot Denny Fitch, credited with saving 184 people aboard Flight 232, dies Wednesday

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:25 am

From Sioux City, Iowa — If you’re pressed for time, make sure to read the final three paragraphs after the jump:

Cancer claims Fitch, credited with helping save 184 people in the ’89 crash at Sioux City

12:08 AM, May. 10, 2012

The impossible had already happened once on July 19, 1989. Denny Fitch just had to make it happen again.

The tail engine of United Flight 232 blew up on the DC-10 passenger plane bound for Chicago. Shrapnel from the blast shredded the hydraulic lines. In a quarter of a second, the hydraulic fluid leaked out. The pilots lost all steering and elevator control. The odds of such total failure were one in a billion. The odds of survival were worse.

Fitch, an off-duty United crewman hitching a ride home to Chicago aboard United 232, stepped forward and beat those odds. He joined Capt. Alfred Haynes and the rest of the flight crew in a desperate struggle to maneuver the crippled plane. They crash-landed the aircraft near an unused runway at the Sioux City airport — and saved 184 of the 296 people aboard.

Fitch recovered from injuries suffered in the crash and returned to the skies, flying until his retirement in 2003. The hero pilot whose quick thinking and strong hands saved so many lives died Sunday after a two-year battle with brain cancer. He was 69.

“Denny Fitch being on that airplane was definitely part of the survival aspect,” said Gary Brown, Woodbury County emergency management director, who worked the scene of the crash in 1989 and later became close friends with Fitch. “He made a major difference.”

Dennis E. “Denny” Fitch picked United 232 by happenstance. He had finished a week of intense safety training with United pilots and looked forward to a three-day weekend in Chicago with his family. A Boeing 727 was leaving at gate B-7. Five minutes later, United Flight 232, a DC-10, was leaving from gate B-9.

“For some reason, it depends on whether you believe in fate, luck or God, I guess, I did the further walk,” Fitch told documentary filmmaker Errol Morris for a 2001 episode of the cable television series “First Person.”

Midway through the flight, somewhere over western Iowa, a loud, muffled explosion rocked the plane. The aircraft yawed hard to the right. Fitch, an expert on the DC-10, knew something was wrong. The turn was too steep. It frightened people.

Fitch flagged a flight attendant he knew. She told him the No. 2 engine — on the tail of the plane — had exploded. Shrapnel sliced open all hydraulic lines. Planes are designed to prevent such catastrophe by a factor of one in a billion, Fitch told Morris.

“DC-10s must have hydraulics to fly them,” Fitch said in the interview. “Period.”

Capt. Haynes invited Fitch, a man he’d never met, into the cockpit as Haynes and his copilot struggled to manipulate the plane’s controls in an effort to keep the plane aloft.