February 28, 2013

Longtime Dem Lanny Davis Also Reports White House Threat

I assume no one expected that Bob Woodward would be found to be the first and only ordinarily Democrat-friendly recipient of threats from White House officials over what he has written and said.

Another such person has come forward in the name of Lanny Davis, who among other things was a completely insufferable defender of the indefensible during the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky-impeachment saga in 1998 and 1999. The morning, on Washington radio station WMAL (audio is at the link), Davis said that his editor at the Washington Times received a threat as a result of what Davis was writing there:

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Unemployment Claims (022813): 344K SA; NSA Claims Down 7% From Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:52 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending February 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 344,000, a decrease of 22,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 366,000. The 4-week moving average was 355,000, a decrease of 6,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 361,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 307,589 in the week ending February 23, a decrease of 43,208 from the previous week. There were 334,242 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

The seasonal adjustment factors were virtually identical in both years.

This is the first week of year-over year improvment after six weeks during which this year’s claims basically matched last year’s. Both weeks contained President’s Day.

This needs to continue. I’m skeptical that it will.

4Q12 GDP Revised to an Annualized +0.1% From -0.1%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:43 am

I think the Associated Press was expecting a bigger adjustment when one of its writers crowed earlier this month about a government trade report’s results indicating that GDP would be revised into positive territory. That happened, but only by the smallest possible amount.

Seriously, big whoop:

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.

It’s pretty hard to make an argument that sequestration will slow down an economy which is already crawling at a snail’s pace — but the left will make the argument anyway.

Zero Hedge says expectations were for the number to go to an annualized +0.5%.

WaPo: ‘Scale of the (Sequestration) Cuts May Be Overstated’

On Saturday, Washington Post reporters Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane fretted, with the help of several leftists they quoted, that sequestration might not cause enough pain. Given that the so-called “cuts” under discussion are really “reductions in projected spending growth,” that is a legitimate fear if your perspective is that government shouldn’t ever shrink under any circumstances.

Rush Limbaugh was correct on Tuesday when he noted that the Post let the “sky is falling” mask slip in it report. Several paragraphs, followed by a bit of Rush’s reaction, follow the jump.

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Not News: Projected Growth in Unpaid Bills Shows State of Illinois on Path to Total Breakdown

On Monday, the Insitute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability (IIFS), an outfit associated with the Civic Federation, a “nonpartisan” organization which appears to have leftist instincts and funding, warned that the state government’s $8 billion stack of unpaid bills will grow to $22 billion in five years. IIFS correctly blames out of control pension costs, and recommends several reforms which don’t seem to match the urgency of the situation.

One thing the report doesn’t do, concerning which the press appears to be completely incurious, is estimate how long it will take vendors in President Barack Obama’s Democrat-dominated home state to get paid if the backlog of unpaid bills really becomes that large. The answer, in brief, is: “so long that no one with a brain will want to do business with the state, likely causing its government to completely collapse.”

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022813)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

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

Positivity: Jobless Indiana teenager rewarded for long walk in the snow

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

From Indianapolis:

6:21PM GMT 26 Feb 2013

An unemployed teenager who embarked on a 10-mile walk through the snow for a job interview saw his dedication pay off after another restaurant owner, impressed with his work ethic, offered him a job at his business.

Jhaqueil Reagan, 18, was walking to an appointment at Dairy Queen, a fast food chain, in Indianapolis, when he approached Art Bouvier to ask directions.

Mr Bouvier, the owner of a Cajun restaurant, told the teenager that he was still about seven miles from his destination.

“I said, ‘You’d be better off on a bus especially in this weather.’ He just said, ‘Okay, thank you.’ And he kept going,” Mr Bouvier told local television station WLFI.

Later the same morning, while driving to a coffee shop, Mr Bouvier saw Mr Reagan walking by the side of the road and offered him a lift.

“I said, well how come you’re not on the bus?” Mr Bouvier said. “He said, ‘I can’t afford the bus until I get a job.’

“I’m thinking to myself, here’s a kid walking almost 10 miles in the ice and slush and snow for the hope of a job at minimum wage. That’s the kind of story your parents used to tell, my parents used to tell.”

After dropping him off, Mr Bouvier asked for Mr Reagan’s phone number and later posted the entire story on his Facebook page, prompting a huge response. The story has been shared nearly 4,000 times and attracted hundreds of positive comments.

That evening Mr Bouvier called Mr Reagan, who did not get the job he initially applied for, and offered him a job at his Papa Roux Cajun Cooking restaurant.

Mr Reagan told local television stations that he had struggled to find work since he left school two years ago when his mother died. He completed his secondary education while caring for his siblings.

Speaking about his new job, he added: “I’m really lucky I met him…He told me about it and I was just so surprised. I was awestruck. My heart’s just racing right now. I’m just too excited, just excited to start.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

February 27, 2013

Politico Treats Pro-Gun Controller’s Win in Far-Left Congressional District With $2 Mil of Bloomberg Money as a ‘Referendum’

Knock me over with a feather. A well-known local pro-gun control official, helped by an overwhelming $2 million in funding from a Michale Bloomberg-backed group, won last night’s splintered Democratic congressional primary in the Illinois district (IL-02) formerly represented by Jesse Jackson Jr., which includes much of the South Side of Chicago, with 52% of the vote. A “whopping” 30,872 people pulled the lever for winner Robin Kelly.

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit noted how little this really means: “It’s setting the bar pretty low to say that electing an anti-gunner to Congress in Chicago would be proof of Bloomberg’s strength.” That of course is not how Alex Isenstadt at Politico reported it, virtually giving the platform to Bloomberg:

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Woodward Claims ‘A Very Senior Person’ at White House Emailed ‘You Will Regret Doing This’; Politico Pair Sat on the News

I presume everyone remembers how when the New York Times published information about a classified program designed to track the movement of alleged terrorist funding through the international banking system Bush administration officials threatened to prosecute Times reporters and management over what they had done? No you don’t, because although some conservatives and Republicans thought it might be a worth considering it didn’t happen. You can guarantee that if it had, it would have become a TV-radio-newspaper-Internet establishment press obsession for days on end.

Tonight, Washington Post’s Bob Woodward alleged that because he is sticking to his guns in insisting that sequestration was the brainchild of the Obama White House, that it was personally approved by Obama, and that bringing up tax increases now to try to resolve the current sequestration impasse is “moving the goalposts,” he has been threatened by “a very senior person” in the White House. Woodward said so on CNN’s Situation Room earlier today. What’s even more troubling is that Woodward told two Politico reporters the same thing yesterday, and that they appear to have sat on the revelation until this evening when the CNN interview forced their hand. Relevant portions of the CNN transcript and Politico column follow the jump.

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AP: Obama Rejects GOP Plan For Sequestration Flexibility Because It Would ‘Force Him to Choose Between the Bad and the Terrible’

We don’t need to speculate about the feelings of Josh Lederman at the Associated Press about who has the high ground in the ongoing sequestration discussions in Washington.

What President Obama actually said about the idea of having more flexibiliity in deciding where to reduce projected spending, followed by how Lederman spun it, both follow the jump.

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Press-Enabled EPA Issues New Rules Mandating Use of Fuels Which Don’t Exist

The rogue collection of bureaucrats known as the Environmental Protection Agency continues its lawless ways. The establishment press continues to serve as enablers.

In January, a federal court vacated the EPA’s regulations mandating the use of cellulosic biofuels which weren’t produced at all until last year, and barely exist now. In response, the agency, directly defying the court, increased the production requirement of these fuels for 2013. In covering the story, as I noted at NewsBusters on January 31, the Associated Press’s Matt Daly only wrote that “An oil industry representative said the Obama administration was thumbing its nose at a ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia” — as if the agency’s action was only a matter of some eeeevil oil guy’s opinion.

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Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022713)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

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

Positivity: Heart patient sees where his life was saved

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Des Moines and Jefferson, Iowa:

Feb. 24, 2013 11:35 PM

A year ago, Everett Beebe’s heart stopped while he was driving home from dinner in Jefferson.

His wife, Bert, was in the car, and she and a passer-by started CPR until authorities loaded him into an ambulance and shocked his heart to get it beating again.

He was taken to the Jefferson hospital, but its doctors couldn’t clear blockages in his heart.

Jen Randall, flight nurse with Mercy Medical Center’s Mercy One helicopter crew, had just started her new job as a flight nurse in January 2012. Beebe was one of her first patients, on a 15-minute flight to the Des Moines hospital.

On Sunday, exactly a year later, Beebe, his wife and nine other relatives drove 70 minutes to Des Moines to meet Randall and some of the other people who saved him.
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February 26, 2013

Astro-Tweets: Many Obama-Encouraged Gun Control Messages to Congressmen Sent From Fake Twitter Accounts

OFAastrotweetWideAt the Hill on Monday, Pete Kasperowicz, employing the establishment press’s usual “mean Republicans attack” spin, is packaging something first aggregated on Friday at Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy.com exclusively as an accusation coming from GOP Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas.

Malkin’s credit-denied crew, with the help of citizen activists who did much of the dirty work, detected what I will call “Astro-Tweets,” a Twitter-driven variant of the campaign tactic known as “astroturfing,” which aims, using a variety of means, to create the illusion of public support for a cause where little or none exists (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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NYT: $500K to OFA Gets You Quarterly Access to Obama; Admin’s Carney Dodges, Walks Away; AP Builds Denial Firewall

OFAaccess500kWide

It’s hard to imagine that Nicholas Confessore and his editors at the overwhelmingly Obama-friendly New York Times were just making things up when he reported over the weekend in a Page A1 story that the Obama campaign’s Organizing For America operation, now “rebooted” as the supposedly independent Organizing For Action, “will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors … whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored,” granting them quarterly access to the Obama if they raise $500,000 or more.

According to Charlie Spiering at the Washington Examiner, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked about the story, in Spiering’s words, “asserted that OFA was an ‘independent organization’ that just happened to support the president’s policy agenda,” “refused to address the New York Times reporting,” and “ended the press briefing as reporters were still asking questions and fled the podium.” If the late Tony Snow had done this while serving as press secretary under George W. Bush, we’d be seeing a continuous loop of the walkout on network TV all day long. The key paragraphs from the Times story, the reaction of MSNBC’s Chuck Todd follow the jump, and the Associated Press’s non-denial denial firewall follow the jump.
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