June 19, 2012

MRC’s Brent Bozell: ‘MSNBC’s Selectively Edited Romney Video, Andrea Mitchell’s Non-Apology Illustrate Network’s Dishonesty’ (Also: Rush’s Comments and Historical Perspective)

And to be very clear, the “network” with the problem is NBC and all affiliates, not merely the its fever-swamp headquarters known as MSNBC.

Here’s the full text of Media Research Center President Brent Bozell’s post today at NewsBusters (related videos are at the link):

Barack Obama’s adoring cheerleaders at NBC are back in the editing room distorting the truth, and, not surprisingly, Andrea Mitchell has the gall to make no apologies for it.

First it was their vile attempt to make George Zimmerman sound like a racist to gin up racial conflict, and now they’ve set their sights on Mitt Romney who they’re desperately trying to paint as an out-of-touch, silver spoon Republican wowed by Wawa sandwiches.

This is a brazen attempt by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell to create a modern “supermarket scanner” moment for Mitt Romney where one clearly does not exist. This “gaffe” is a complete fabrication deliberately perpetrated by MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. Her attempt to right this wrong by playing a few more seconds of video today is a slap in the face. Romney was making a valid point about the efficiency of private sector innovation. He was not amazed that he could order a sandwich with a touchscreen. His message is clear as day to anyone who watches the full video of his stump speech, and should sicken anyone who compares it to Mitchell’s sensational hatchet job.

Rush Limbaugh had plenty of choice words for NBC today on his show (with side by side videos of all of what Romney said vs. NBC’s selectively edited version at the link), and made clear that Bush 41′s alleged “supermarket scanner” moment two decades ago was also a media concoction:

It was blatant, and they got caught. The worst thing that can happen to you, folks, is ridicule. And everybody is now ridiculing MSNBC. I mean, Politico tried at first to go along with the MSNBC version and then they quickly sized up what had happened and wanted no part of it. The Atlantic, Politico, everybody else in the Drive-By Media just distanced themselves from MSNBC. We have the tape coming up to show you what happened.

They got caught. And in the process, by the way, everybody’s repeating the lie about George H. W. Bush’s scanner incident. In reality, Bush was at grocers convention. He was being shown a new type of scanner that could weigh groceries and read mangled and torn bar codes. It was new and amazing for the times, and it was not yet widespread commercially. But in this case, while they continue to spread the lie about George H. W. Bush, this is exactly what NBC fired three people for doing in the Trayvon Martin case.

Now, somebody needs to ask some serious questions.

You at NBC are becoming a laughingstock, and don’t think this is just confined to MSNBC. This is NBC corporate. It was NBC corporate and local in Miami that monkeyed around with the Zimmerman 911 tape, and now this. And what people are learning is that it really isn’t new. It’s standard operating procedure when you attempt, in the mainstream media, to criticize and impugn Republicans. This is blatant. And because somebody was there and able to record the whole thing with their cell phone, MSNBC and NBC are totally exposed.

And yet the jerks in the establishment press have the nerve to criticize James O’Keefe’s editing choices. Bleep them.

BLUMER: Did Strickland’s alleged job offer prevent a 2006 Dem statewide office sweep?

Filed under: Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:58 pm

Thanks, Ted.

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Information surfacing in a FBI investigation indicates that Democrat Ted Strickland may be largely to blame for his party’s sole statewide election loss in 2006.

That year was an electoral rout for Democrats, both nationwide and in the Buckeye State. Democrats recaptured the House and Senate in Washington for the first time since 1994. In Ohio, Democrat Sherrod Brown comfortably defeated two-term Republican Senator Mike DeWine by 12 points.

In the races for statewide office, Strickland trounced his GOP challenger by 24 points. Democrats also easily won the races for Secretary of State (15 points) and Treasurer (16 points). The Democrats’ margin in the Attorney General’s race was much tighter (5 points), but that was because Republicans ran well-known previous statewide officeholder Betty Montgomery. But somehow, relatively unknown Ohio Representative Mary Taylor won a razor-thin, 1.4-point victory in the State Auditor’s race.

We’ve known many of the reasons for Taylor’s victory for quite a while. To the extent she had a reputation, it was as a taxpayer heroine. Taylor defied the state legislature’s GOP power structure when she refused to support a tax increase in 2003. Shortly after that vote, she lost her position on the legislature’s Finance Committee. Given that Ms. Taylor is a Certified Public Accountant, the party’s move was obviously an act of retribution. Taylor and her campaign also highlighted and leveraged the importance of having a CPA as state auditor. That message cut through the clutter in a race whose results ordinarily mirror those of the other non-gubernatorial races.

That said, Taylor’s Democratic opponent Barbara Sykes was perhaps the most pathetic major-party statewide candidate the Buckeye State has ever seen. Two quotes Taylor’s campaign used against the Akron-based former state representative during the campaign will suffice as proof. First, Sykes was seen claiming that “I think that people should work so they can pay their taxes. Because we need their money.” Yikes. It gets worse. Sykes was also captured on video saying that “If the auditor is running around trying to audit … then we’re in real big trouble.” An ordinarily moribund Ohio Republican Party, perhaps sensing that Taylor was the only candidate with a chance to win anything, aggressively replayed Sykes’ stupid statements in campaign ads. Fortunately, Buckeye State residents avoided the “big trouble” of having the clueless Sykes serve as its auditor.

What remains unexplained is how Democrats ensured that Sykes would be the one to run unopposed in the May 2006 primary. Sadly, we know the “why”: “Party officials wanted to have people with diverse backgrounds on the Democratic ticket.” Sykes is African-American.

The “how” is where Strickland comes in.

Despite campaigning for nine months, Sykes’ lone challenger, Mahoning County Treasurer John Reardon, dropped out of the auditor’s race in early March 2006. Party officials had been pushing Reardon to withdraw for some time, but his ultimate decision to abandon the race arguably occurred because of  a potentially illegal conversation then-candidate Strickland allegedly had with Reardon which was reported on May 26 at the Columbus Dispatch:

“In July of 2010, Reardon told federal investigators that he received a call from Strickland on the same day Reardon struck a tentative deal with the state Democratic Party to get out of the race in 2006.”

“Reardon said Strickland, who at the time was a candidate for governor, called him and said, according to the FBI report, ‘John, I’ve to be very careful in how I say this to you, when I’m elected, the administration is going to need good people in a lot of top jobs. Good people with abilities such as yourself and we are going to have a lot of jobs to fill and we are going to fill them with people with qualifications and abilities like yours.’”

“According to the FBI’s report, Reardon said he was ‘unequivocally certain’ that Strickland knew that a job was part of the tentative deal.”

Regardless of the whether the alleged conversation broke laws against illegal inducement to run or not run for office, the almost certainly unethical nature of the conversation, and its ultimate result (shortly after taking office, Strickland appointed Reardon superintendent of the Division of Financial Institutions at the Ohio Department of Commerce), there is little doubt in hindsight that Strickland and his party colossally blundered in clearing the path for Sykes. It seems that someone with Reardon’s background would have had a strong chance of defeating Sykes in a primary if the party had not already pre-selected its favorite. Had he won the nomination, it’s almost inconceivable that Reardon would have campaigned as poorly as Sykes in a race that, despite Taylor’s impressive effort, was hers to lose.

BLUMER: Ohio SOS Mails Out Millions of Invitations to Commit Vote Fraud

Filed under: Activism,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:57 pm

Clueless Jon Husted.

By Tom Blumer | Special to Ohio Watchdog

Sometimes — in fact, most of the time any more — it seems as if controversially remiss, vote fraud-condoning Democrat Jennifer Brunner never left her perch as Ohio’s Secretary of State.

Technically, Brunner was officially gone in early January 2011, but you’d never know it from the things her successor Jon Husted, who masquerades as a Republican, has done.

Husted, whose duties are supposed to include serving as the Buckeye State’s guardian of fair and clean elections, campaigned during the 2010 Republican primary as a fervent proponent of requiring voter identification at the polls, touting how he was “committed to preventing outside groups such as ACORN from illegally influencing our elections.”

Primary voters had little direct reason to doubt his sincerity (though indirectly, Husted’s serial misrepresentations about his place of residence for several years should have been seen as clear warning signs that this is not a man who can trusted on anything). After all, in 2006, Husted voted for and vocally supported a law requiring identification at the polls to cast a ballot sponsored by then-State Representative Kevin DeWine. The now-defunct Cincinnati Post quoted Husted on the day Governor Bob Taft signed the bill as follows: “We want to reform the system they want to complain about it. … We want to stop the cheating, they want to keep the loopholes alive.”

After his primary victory over a challenger backed by tea party supporters, Husted quietly removed voter-ID references at his campaign web site. In 2011, his first year in office, Husted did an about-face when he spoke out against voter ID before a vote on a bill containing that requirement in the Republican-controlled state Senate. The spineless Senate stripped away the voter-ID provision.

Now we learn, as reported by the Associated Press, that Husted’s office will be “distributing absentee voting applications to every registered voter ahead of November’s presidential election.”

30 percent of Ohio’s registered voters didn’t vote in the 2008 presidential election. It’s already sad but true that anyone who lives with a friend or relative who is serially apathetic can apply to receive an absentee ballot on their behalf, intercept it when it arrives in the mail, vote for them, fake their signature, and mail a completed fraudulent ballot back to their county’s elections board. Many caregivers for the elderly and infirm are also in a position to vote fraudulently for their charges with little worry about getting caught. Thanks to Husted, who was under no legal requirement to do what he did, anyone who wants to cast a vote on someone else’s behalf will now have a head start. Unethically inclvined folks to whom the idea of vote fraud would not have otherwise occurred without the mailing will now consider it.

Experience has shown that the preponderance of vote fraud is perpetrated by committed leftists. If Barack Obama wins Ohio by a few thousand votes in November, Jon Husted will probably be the reason why.

BLUMER: Obama’s EPA — Coal Communities ‘Should Just Go Away’

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:55 pm

A war on coal, coal miners, coal companies, and coal users.

By Tom Blumer | Special to Ohio Watchdog

Viewed in isolation, the following statement recently cited at the Daily Caller by Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 Administrator Curtis Spalding almost seems compassionate:

“… if you go to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and all those places, you have coal communities who depend on coal. And to say that we just think those communities should just go away, we can’t do that.”

But in full context, that statement, made at the National Pesticide Forum in March at Yale University, isn’t compassionate at all. Instead, it admits to intentional deception:

Lisa Jackson has put forth a very powerful message to the country. Just two days ago, the decision on greenhouse gas performance standard and saying basically gas plants are the performance standard which means if you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem. That was a huge decision.”

“You can’t imagine how tough that was. Because you got to remember if you go to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and all those places, you have coal communities who depend on coal. And to say that we just think those communities should just go away, we can’t do that. But she had to do what the law and policy suggested. And it’s painful. It’s painful every step of the way.”

Now, it’s crystal clear that Mr. Spalding doesn’t mean “we can’t do that” — because, thanks to the “decision” by Ms. Jackson, who heads the EPA, embodied in a proposed rule the EPA clearly expects to stand, federal regulators are well on their way to making coal communities in “all those places,” one of which is Ohio, “go away.”

So when Mr. Spalding said, “we can’t do that,” he really meant, “we can’t say that.”

Thanks to someone who videotaped and distributed Spalding’s sputtering, we now know, as if there has ever really been any doubt, that the EPA’s objective is to take down the entire coal industry.

Mr. Spalding doesn’t seem to understand (or doesn’t care to) that it’s not just coal communities which will “go away.” As a press release from the Ohio Coal Association’s Mike Carey noted, “Coal provides nearly 86 percent of our electricity in Ohio with reserves lasting an estimated 250 years. Destroying our industry, as planned by President Obama, would decimate Ohio because our economy relies on an affordable and abundant supply of electricity to power economic sectors like manufacturing.”

The replacement energy if coal is eliminated as an energy source will be neither affordable nor abundant. Recently established capacity prices for 2015-2016, which take into account anticipated coal-fired plant closures, came in eight times higher than the price which was set for 2012-2013. The sheer volume of energy Ohio will have to import from other states will will require billions of dollars in transmission line upgrades which still might not be enough to prevent brownouts or rolling blackouts.

The sad truth as the EPA acknowledges in its proposed rule, is that this war on coal, coal miners, coal companies, and coal users is being waged for one reason only: because it believes that “GHGs” (greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide) emitted by coal are “causing or contributing to climate change … (which) endanger(s) both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations.”The EPA’s contention about “climate change,” the antiseptic term for “global warming,” has no credible basis. Carbon dioxide is rising, but the earth is cooling.

The EPA’s entire commerce-killing exercise is completely unnecessary and tragic, and must be stopped — on January 20, 2013 at the latest.

BLUMER: Wistful Thinking on Wisconsin

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:50 pm

What might have been.

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By Tom Blumer | Special to Ohio Watchdog

While there is no doubt that Ohio Governor John Kasich is thrilled that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker defeated those who wished to recall him, he must also be wondering how his similar efforts to restore balance in the relationship between public-sector unions and their state, county and municipal employers could have gone so wrong.

First, let’s note that after cutting through the nationwide conservative crowing, it’s clear that while Walker’s win is gratifying and sufficiently convincing, it’s also disappointing. Walker defeated his opponent Tom Barrett by five points in November 2010. He was only able to win by seven points on Tuesday. In my view, a not inconsequential percentage of voters supported Walker this time around in large part because they opposed the idea of recalling a governor in the middle of his term when there have been no credible charges of corruption or criminal activity on his part. Take that cadre away, and one must admit that Walker’s performance probably didn’t improve.

Of course a win is a win — especially this one, given the horrible implications a loss would have had — and a win is something Team Kasich, the Ohio Republican Party, and supporters of public-sector employee reform in Ohio utterly failed to achieve when Senate Bill 5 (SB5) was repealed by a 23-point margin in November.

What went wrong in Ohio?

Perhaps it happened because Ohio’s reforms included police and firefighters; Wisconsin’s didn’t. Walker’s deliberate exclusion took away the completely false but nevertheless effective argument the repeal crowd in Ohio used that public safety would somehow be compromised by SB5.

Another example of where Kasich and GOP legislators probably bit off too much at one time was their inclusion of merit pay for teachers. It’s an important issue, but many voters who might have been inclined to favor a measure only involving changes in health insurance and pension plan cost-sharing were turned away by this contentious issue.

Another factor had to be the intermural Team Kasich-state party mudslinging which was quietly in progress before the election and subsequently became quite public. It may not be fair to say that the Ohio GOP secretly wanted to see SB5′s defeat, but some party officials and a few disgruntled legislators seemed to go through the motions during the campaign.

Finally, and it’s painful to admit this, the public-sector unions in Ohio and their leftist support groups may be stronger in the Buckeye State than they are in Wisconsin. The Badger State has three areas where militant activism dominates and intimidates: Greater Milwaukee, Dane County (home of the People’s Republic of Madison), and the Mesabi Range mining counties in the far north. Ohio has at least a half-dozen metro areas making up a much larger percentage of the state’s population where municipal and county unions have a nearly iron grip: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron, Toledo, and Dayton.

This means that on the issue of public-sector union reform, Ohio is probably to the left of Wisconsin. Team Kasich and the party didn’t recognize this sad reality and overplayed their hand. Isolating their primary objectives to cost-sharing and addressing other areas on a very selective and piecemeal basis would have been far more effective, perhaps even if public-safety employees had been included.

Now, at least until next year, Ohio has the worst of both worlds: a unsustainably high public-sector cost structure which has led to hundreds if not thousands of layoffs which needn’t have happened (with more to come), and an administration in semi-paralysis which is afraid of doing anything that might cause Buckeye State voters to do to Mitt Romney in November 2012 what they did to SB5 last year. As a result, the best we can hope during the rest of this year will be that Ohio’s economy muddles through in unimpressive fashion.

BLUMER: Dangerous Assumptions in OSU’s Parking Deal

Filed under: Economy,Education,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:44 pm

9% investment returns. Really?

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The Columbus Dispatch has a Monday item by Encarnita Pyle about how The Ohio State University plans to deal with federal or state cuts in aid to higher education.

One of the alternatives on the table is to secure a “$483 million lump-sum payment for leasing out the (university’s) parking system for 50 years.” The arrangement calls for “QIC Global Infrastructure, an Australian investment-management firm, and LAZ Parking, a national parking company headquartered in Connecticut, to take over OSU’s nearly 36,000 parking spaces.”

Privatizations can be a good idea (see: Indiana Toll Road), but the OSU situation seems to have two serious problems. First, it looks like there’s nothing to prevent parking rates from skyrocketing. Second, the university is telling the public about all kinds of treasure which will materialize from the deal based on a rate-of-return assumption which is inappropriately aggressive.

If (a very big if) inflation stays in check at its current 2%-3% annual rate during the course of the 50-year contract, and if Ms. Pyle’s writeup is sufficiently descriptive, the deal looks really bad for OSU commuters. QIC/LAZ gets to raise rates by as much as “5.5 percent a year for the first decade. After that, fees could increase 4 percent per year or at the inflation rate, whichever is higher.” That’s right, higher.

If rates go up 5.5% per year during the first ten years at a compound rate, and it’s not clear that OSU could do anything to stop this once the ink dries on the deal, rates could rise by 71% in the next decade, or well over 30% in real terms. Even if the contract doesn’t allow compounding, a 55% increase is pretty steep. Again assuming compounding, 4% increases for the next 40 years would cause rates to nearly quintuple after that, no matter what happens to prices in the meantime. What justification is there for any increase above actual inflation? If there’s an ulterior motivation behind all of this, it might be that it helps OSU President Gordon Gee implement his living-in-the-past agenda to “shift” sophomores from off-campus housing to on-campus dorms (I believe that what the Cleveland Plain Dealer is calling a “shift” really involves forcing non-local students to live on campus whether they like it or not).

As to how the money will be used, the Dispatch presents a graphic purporting to demonstrate how the $483 million invested in OSU’s endowment will spin off just shy of $4 billion over the next 50 years for the university initiatives while still adding another $4.4 billion ($4.9 billion less the initial investment) to the endowment itself.

What’s not to like? Well, the 9% assumed rate of return. Geoff Chatas, OSU’s senior vice president for business, defends that assumption by telling the Dispatch, in Pyle’s words, that “9 percent … is comparable to how much the university has earned on its endowment over the past 30 years.” If those annual returns are achieved, a bit more than half (4.75% of the 9%) will be reinvested, while 4.25% will supposedly be available for university services.

The trouble is that almost no fund manager on earth assumes 9% returns. In fact, many state pension plans are getting deserved beatings in the press for assuming a too-optimistic 8%. Chatas also appears to be cherry-picking his return experience timeline, beginning it when the stock market was in the tank in the early 1980s. Even a consistent one-point shortfall in OSU’s endowment returns will reduce the portion of annual returns available for program services by 23.5% (from 4.25% to 3.25%). Over the 50 years involved, that would mean about $930 million less than what Chatas overconfidently promises.

Seven percent would be a much more appropriate return assumption. If the fund does better, fine, but assuming that it will presents a dangerously rosy scenario, especially if good returns in early years encourage overspending and expectations that the ability to overspend can go on indefinitely.

For these reasons and others Ms. Pyle cites in her report, this deal deserves far more scrutiny that it is receiving.

BLUMER: Commenters Nail the Dispatch For ‘Name That Party’ Fail; Paper Relents

An obvious double standard.

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An emailer tipped me to the stark contrast between how the Columbus Dispatch reported the recent story of a state representative convicted of official crimes and the paper’s handling of a Republican rep’s crime-related situation from almost a year ago. Both politicians resigned from their posts.

Readers who are accustomed to media “name that party” bias will be tempted not to read on, because it’s so common. But this story has a gratifying ending.

Yes, we all know that Republicans tainted by scandal, corruption, or crime are almost always tagged with their party affiliation, usually in the headline, very early paragraphs, or both. Democrats in similar situations “somehow” don’t get tagged until much later in such reports, if at all. It’s so bad that many astute readers automatically, and usually correctly, conclude that the affected politician must be a Democrat if no affiliation is present.

But something relatively unique happened here — something I would be thrilled to see continue.

Dispatch reporter John Futty’s original Monday submission (conveniently not retrievable now, but seen by me early Monday evening) failed to tag former State Representative W. Carl Weddington as a Democrat. Weddington is, or was, no ordinary corrupt politician, and was sentenced to three years in prison for his misdeeds. As Futty reported, “officials had said … (he) is the first sitting state lawmaker in Ohio indicted on a bribery charge in 100 years.”

Commenters were incensed at the party affiliation omission and piled on mercilessly. My email tipster informs me that the paper responded first by putting a Democrat tag onto Weddington in the report’s fourth paragraph, and later (as it appears now) moved it up to Paragraph 2.

Readers didn’t have to cajole the Dispatch into doing its job in July 2011 when Republican State Representative Robert Mecklenborg resigned “after being arrested for drunken driving in Indiana with a stripper in his car and Viagra in his system.”

Mecklenborg got an “R” tag from reporter Darrel Rowland in Paragraph 2 as well as in the story’s picture caption (the caption at the Weddington story still has no party label). Rowland made sure to get comments from both Democratic and Republican Party officials about the situation; Futty did no such thing in the Weddington story. Though he obviously deserved to lose his elected office for truly reprehensible personal conduct, Mecklenborg’s offenses didn’t involve abusing his office and the public’s trust for personal benefit, as Weddington’s crimes clearly did.

The Dispatch’s party affiliation negligence with Weddington was not isolated. I found two other situations where the Democrat was not labeled, Alan Johnson’s March 16 report on Weddington’s original not-guilty pleas and a Dispatch editorial that same day. Those lapses have never been fixed.

The odds are that the Dispatch and other Ohio newspapers will continue with their “name that party” double standard unless readers continue to complain loudly and persistently. So by all means, keep it up, people.

BLUMER: AP Conceals Significance of Univ. of Cincinnati Free-Speech Ruling

Burying the lede — and the “school.”

By Tom Blumer | Special to Ohio Watchdog

Tuesday’s coverage at the Associated Press of an important court ruling in Cincinnati with potential national implications was atrocious.

The ruling is important: A federal judge told the University of Cincinnati that its “free speech zone” restrictions are unconstitutional. As noted in local coverage — where the story’s “Judge rejects UC protest policy” headline is unforgivably deceptive — U.S. District Judge Timothy Black ruled that “the policy is too vague, too restrictive and a clear violation of students’ free speech rights.”

Judge Black certainly didn’t mince words in his decision: “The university has simply offered no explanation of its compelling interest in restricting all demonstrations, rallies, and protests from all but one designated public forum on campus,” the judge wrote.

The ruling is the result of a suit filed by UC’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter, which attempted to gather signatures for the Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment, a proposed ballot initiative which, if approved by voters, would make Ohio a right-to-work state. Maurice Thompson, whose 1851 Center for Constitutional Law argued the case on YAL’s behalf, believes that the ruling, if upheld, will “have reverberations beyond this case.”

It should. UC, a public university, restricts legitimate, First Amendment-sanctioned activities to an area where YAL’s petition gatherers were able “to collect one signature and … interact with six students because so few people waked through the ‘free speech zone.’” That’s inarguably far beyond any reasonable need UC has to head off potentially serious security problems or disruptions.

The AP’s unbylined coverage (save here in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) is only five paragraphs, but it still manages to bury the important information in an attempt to bore readers into not moving to the story’s key elements:

  • The headline reads “Judge: Cincinnati school violated student rights.” Gosh, does this involve a grade school, high school, or university? How about “Judge: Univ. of Cincinnati violated speech rights”? That’s less than 50 characters, would be within AP’s raw feed limit, tells readers much of what they need to know, and generates interest.
  • The item also avoids naming UC until the second paragraph, merely calling it “a southwest Ohio university” in the first. Are you kidding me? UC is the second-largest university in Ohio, is considered a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News and World Report, and was considered one of the top 200 universities in the world in the UK Times Higher Education 2010 Survey (2011-2012 rank: between 201 and 225). Calling UC “a southwest Ohio University” is like calling the Cincinnati Reds “a baseball team.” The failure to specifically name UC is a clear “Don’t read this, it’s really boring” ploy.
  • The third paragraph call the right-to-work effort a “cause” instead of a “ballot initiative.” The intent appears to be to make proponents look like a bunch of unruly protesters instead of dedicated activists targeting a specific political objective.
  • The report gives absolutely no indication that the ruling has potential national significance.

David L. Goetsch at the Patriot Update calls free speech zones an example of how universities create “a one-way street controlled by liberals who do their best to suppress conservative and Christian opinions, thoughts, and ideas.” Judge Black’s ruling is a welcome first step towards returning the First Amendment to its proper place in academia.

AP’s Job Openings Coverage Understates Significance of Steep Drop

It wouldn’t quite be fair to say that the Associated Press’s Christopher Rugaber sugarcoated his dispatch on today’s release of the April Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) by Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it would be more than fair to say he missed several chances to tell readers how significant the setbacks BLS relayed really were (openings fell 8.7% from a seasonally adjusted 3.741 million to 3.416 million). That’s especially true, given what we already know about May’s employment situation.

What follows are several paragraphs from Rugaber’s report, followed by contextual factoids the folks at Zero Hedge found which the AP reporter missed or ignored:

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Victor Davis Hanson: ‘Securitygate’ … ‘Is Far More Serious’ Than Prior Scandals

When America’s preeminent historian accuses our president and his minions of orchestrating “the scandal of our age” to buttress his reelection efforts, we should pay it special heed, to the point where I will over-excerpt a bit while saying that there’s no substitute for reading the whole thing (bolds are mine):
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The Private Sector Was Really Fine Under Reagan

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:59 am

And we didn’t have a whiner-in chief.

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

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President Barack Obama’s 53-minute “major address” on Thursday was so bad that even some of his knee-jerk cheerleaders in the establishment press couldn’t stand it. A desperate Associated Press photographer thought that fitting Obama for a new halo might distract from the disaster. Nice try, buddy. No sale.

Obama was right about something, though not in the sense he intended, when he told his audience that “we can’t afford to jeopardize our future by repeating the mistakes of the past — not now, not when there’s so much at stake.” We’ve been repeating the New Deal-”inspired,” stimulus-driven, regulation-overloaded, class warfare-motivated, uncertainty-inducing mistakes of the 1930s for 3-1/2 years (or four, if you want to include President George W. Bush’s $94 billion distribution of IRS checks in 2008, which in historical perspective represents a tiny drop in what is now a dangerously deep debt bucket). It’s well past time to stop doing what hasn’t worked, especially when we have an historical blueprint which, when appropriately adapted to our current situation, can free us from our current malaise.

Both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama faced deep recessions. The problems Reagan inherited from hapless predecessor Jimmy Carter and which immediately followed his inauguration were arguably more severe. Inflation in 1979 and 1980averaged 13%. The prime interest rate was 20% the day the Gipper was inaugurated (imagine this economy, which can’t get going with the prime rate at an all-time post-World War II low of 3.25%, trying to recover in the face of double-digit interest rates). Unemployment was soaring. Reagan, while facing a Congress controlled by the party of tax and spend, needed to somehow revive the economy even as the Federal Reserve under Paul Volcker was of necessity taming inflation with a very tight monetary policy, creating a double-dip recession.

Our current president can only claim that “the private sector is fine” if he pretends that what Reagan’s policies accomplished never happened. It did, with the following results after the double-dip recession ended in November 1982 compared to how the current economy has performed since its recession officially ended in June 2009 (data used is from Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS]):

ReaganVsObamaPvtSectJobs0512

Despite the Obama-Pelosi-Reid stimulus, which was so flipping important that it had to be rushed through Congress without giving anyone time to read it, and which was falsely sold as a way to jump-start commerce with shovel-ready jobs which existed only on paper if at all, the economy kept on losing jobs for eight awful months after the recession ended. Under Reagan, despite arguably much more severe headwinds — you try to bring back an economy with interest rates still above 10%, as they were until the last few months of the period involved — robust job growth resumed almost immediately after the recession’s end and kept going and going.

Team Obama likes to talk about what has happened since February 2010 (the yellow mark in the chart), bragging about all the private-sector jobs “we’ve created” (as if they can take credit for decisions employers have made independently). The fact is that even if you ignore (which you shouldn’t) the first eight months after the recession ended (actually, decisions made, laws passed, and policies implemented by Democratic administrations, Congresses, and government-sponsored enterprises created the recession, while President-elect Obama’s frightening “They’re absolutely right” endorsement of the occupiers at Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors worsened it), the 4.27 million private-sector jobs added during the past 27 months pales in comparison to the 7.14 million created under Reagan.

The difference is even starker when you compare the results expressed in terms of post-recession workforce growth:

ReaganVsObamaPvtSectPercent0512

The private workforce shrank by a bit more than 1% during the first eight months after the most recent recession’s official end. In the 27 supposedly magical months after that, it grew by less than 4%. Big whoop: During the analogous 27 months under Reagan, private-sector employment grew by 9.6% — and the economy didn’t have to lose 1.16 million jobs before any kind of recovery appeared.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Data from the BLS’s Household Survey tells us that the number of part-time workers during the first 35 months of the Reagan era’s post-recession boom grew by 1.6%. That’s almost a rounding error compared to the same period’s 10.7% growth in full-time employment. During the same number of months after the most recent recession officially ended, part-time employment has grown by 1.9%, while full-time employment is only up by an I’m-not-kidding 1.3%.

The boom years under Reagan primarily resulted from supply-side tax cuts accompanied by a healthy dose of deregulation. A President Mitt Romney would not have to go with major tax cuts to replicate a Reagan-like boom. Instead, on Day 1 he and Congress should first make the income-tax structure created in 2003 during the presidency of Bush 43 and under which we have essentially functioned for the past nine years permanent. If he wants to be more aggressive, fine, but in my view it’s not as important as the next necessary step.

It is crucial that a Romney administration do the regulatory equivalent of what the Kemp-Roth tax cuts did when they pulled down rates by 25% over three years. Team Romney should carefully target the elimination and revision of regulations with the goal of reducing their overall cost to the economy by 10% each year for the next three years. After that, we can ask “Why stop there?” (Free advice to Romney insiders: Put a task force together to address this matter right now, so you can hit the ground running on January 20, 2013.)

A regulatory Kemp-Roth would free up millions of hours of private-sector time for productive tasks and would over time move hundreds of thousands of federal workers who add nothing to the country’s gross domestic product into the economy-contributing private sector. A 10% annual reduction in the yearly regulatory burden, which the SBA estimated as costing the economy $1.75 trillion a few years ago and which certainly approaches or exceeds $2 trillion now, would be the rough equivalent of an annual $200 billion tax cut. You can write it down that we will see an economic boom if our government ever implements this common-sense idea.

Unlike now, the private sector was really fine under Ronald Reagan. Additionally, once inaugurated, the Gipper almost never complained about the insufferable mess predecessor Jimmy Carter had left or moaned about the high interest rates the Fed had to impose to tame inflation.

Evidence is growing that the American people have had more than their fill of our current ineffective whiner- and regulator-in-chief and those he has chosen to work for him, and that they intend to express that displeasure at the polls in November. If that’s really the case, Election Day can’t come soon enough.

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (061912)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

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

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Positivity: Parables show God’s transforming power, Pope teaches

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Vatican City:

Jun 17, 2012 / 10:08 am

God is the prime mover in the story of salvation, Pope Benedict XVI taught on June 17, as he discussed Christ’s parables about the similarity between the Kingdom of God and the growth of seeds.

“The message is clear,” the Pope told pilgrims in his midday Angelus address. “The Kingdom of God, even if it requires our cooperation, is firstly a gift of the Lord, a grace that precedes man and his works.”

“Our small force, apparently impotent before the problems of the world, if placed in that of God is not afraid of obstacles, because it is certain of the victory of the Lord.”

This is “the miracle of God’s love” that should make us “optimistic, despite the difficulties, sufferings and evil that we encounter,” he said.

The Pope was dwelling upon two of Christ’s parables as recounted in Sunday’s Scripture readings from the Gospel of St. Mark. In the first, a seed is sown and then grows by itself while the farmer sleeps, while in the second the tiny mustard seed grows to become “the greatest of all shrubs.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

AP Report on Food Stamp Program’s Loose Rules Begs the Question: Why Now?

Three years ago, fellow Ohio blogger Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion learned of a situation in Warren County where food stamp benefits were approved in a situation “where the family have over $80,000 in bank, own a 2001 Toyota and 2006 Mercedes Benz, and a $311,000 home that is paid for … (with) monthly benefits of over $500 …”

In a column I wrote at the time, I asked (pretty much knowing the answer) if “food stamps for the well-off” was “a national trend.” Well, as if there was ever any doubt, the Associated Press finalized that answer tonight in an unbylined rundown of a series of pervasive situations which show how routine and extensive the waste in the program really is:

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