June 1, 2013

Arpaio Recall Effort Fails: AP, LAT Make Excuses, Indulge Petitioners’ ‘If Only’ Fantasy

ArpaioWide2013Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio won’t be subject to a recall election. It wasn’t even close, though two press reports, one at the Associated Press and another at the Los Angeles Times, failed to accurately convey how seriously organizers failed. Both reports also trotted out an “if only” excuse which doesn’t pass the stench test, let alone the smell test.

Neither outlet gave an accurate impression of how seriously the recall drive failed. Organizers needed 335,317 valid signatures, but Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times (in a “Feathered Bastard” report, no less) reported earlier in the week that the recall movement’s manager “estimates that the recall now needs 90,000 more signatures to have a cushion in addition to the 335,317 necessary to force a recall.” In other words, the magic turn-in number, unreported by both the AP and the Times, was really 425,000 and change.

The AP’s Jacques Billeaud at least stuck to only what the recall movement itself claimed, and even allowed the full effect of Sheriff Joe’s gloating statement into his dispatch:

“It is a sad day,” recall campaign manager Lilia Alvarez said. “It is a disappointment.”

Recall organizers won’t reveal the number of signatures they gathered. In their last update, given five weeks ago, organizers said they had gathered 200,000 signatures.

“The count at this point doesn’t matter,” Alvarez said in deciding not to reveal the number of signatures gathered.

Arpaio issued a statement suggesting that recall organizers aren’t revealing the number of signatures they gathered because they are embarrassed by the level of their failure. “This effort failed because the good people of Maricopa County, whom I’m honored to serve, rejected the wrong-headed idea of overturning an election,” Arpaio said.

But in moves ordinarily expected of AP, the wire service kept Arpaio’s name out of the headline (“GROUP FAILS IN BID TO RECALL ARIZ. SHERIFF”) and used what is likely the most unflattering photo it has in its files to accompany the story. Oh, and Billeaud made sure to call Arpaio “polarizing” in his opening paragraph — a tage the press almost never applies to a Democrat or liberal.

At the Times, Cindy Carcamo allowed someone besides Ms. Alvarez, the campaign’s director, to throw out a vague number, clipped the gloating element from Arpaio’s statment, and went into excuse-making mode:

Activists behind the recall effort would not say how many signatures they were short. Randy Parraz, president of Citizens for Better Arizona, only said the two groups had collected close to 300,000 signatures.

Arpaio, reelected in November, blasted the group in a prepared statement.

“After months of name calling, after the disparaging effigies and theatrics … this latest recall effort has failed,” Arpaio said. “This effort failed because the good people of Maricopa County, whom I’m honored to serve, rejected the wrongheaded idea of overturning an election.”

The groups had struggled to raise funds necessary to hire paid signature gatherers — key to these sort of efforts. Instead, the groups relied heavily on volunteers to gather signatures against the six-term sheriff who is something of an institution in Arizona’s largest county.

… The groups gained momentum after a federal judge ruled Friday that the immigration enforcement policies employed by Arpaio violated the Constitution.

What momentum? Giving Parraz’s apparently unauthorized estimate a huge benefit of the doubt and calling it 275,000 the recall fell short by at least 37% ([435,000 minus 275,000] divided by 435,000) of what they needed.

The AP’s Billeaud also allowed an excuse-maker into his report:

“I wish from the bottom of my heart that this ruling would have come out a month earlier. Had this ruling come out a month earlier, who knows how many signatures we would have gotten,” Democratic state Rep. Martin Quezada of Avondale, a supporter of the Arpaio recall effort, said.

Maybe a few thousand? Big deal.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Punk President’s NLRB to Courts: Bleep You

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:35 am

From a Friday Wall Street Journal editorial (bolds are mine), a company is hitting bacck at the National labor relations Board, and it’s about flippin’ time:

The Price of NLRB Defiance
A federal court is asked to enforce its rulings against the labor board.

The National Labor Relations Board has problems with authority.” That droll understatement begins a petition filed Thursday with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, highlighting the havoc the Obama labor board’s defiance is causing in the real world.

Cablevision is petitioning the D.C. Circuit to issue a writ of mandamus—a direct court order—prohibiting the NLRB from proceeding with unfair-labor-practice complaints against it and its parent company, CSC Holdings. Cablevision’s rationale is straightforward: The same D.C. Circuit ruled in January that President Obama’s non-recess recess appointments to the NLRB were illegal. Thus, the board has been operating without a quorum since January 2012.

No matter. A defiant NLRB persists as a law unto itself, no matter how illegitimate its actions are in the wake of that decision. After the Communications Workers of America leveled charges of unfair labor practice against Cablevision, two of the labor board’s regional directors snapped to in April with complaints against the company.

Cablevision’s request is also notable for pointing out the substantial business costs of the NLRB’s defiance. In reply to other mandamus petitions filed against it, the labor board has suggested that companies should be required first to complete the entire NLRB administrative process—sitting in front of a judge, then the board itself—before being allowed to ask a court to declare the currently illegitimate NLRB’s rulings invalid.

Horse manure. Anything the NRLB does is invalid on its face, especially any actions it brings in the same district which has nullified President Obama’s recess appointments.

Companies against which NLRB is acting are the ones who should be saying “bleep you” to extralegal tyranny (“arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority”).

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (060113)

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

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

Positivity: Florida Prom-Bound Teens Exit Limo to Rescue Car Crash Victims

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Ft. Lauderdale, Florida:

Tue, May 14, 2013 9:10 PM EDT

Decked out in tuxedos and ball gowns, 20 prom-bound high school seniors and their limousine driver came to the rescue after a van overturned on a Florida highway.

The well-dressed students managed to pull seven passengers from the van Saturday and make it to prom just 15 minutes late, limousine driver Danny Izzi told ABCNews.com.

The students were traveling on Interstate 595 to their prom at the Westin Hotel on Fort Lauderdale beach when the van, which was in front of the limousine, began swerving, Izzi said.

“When it hit the wall and turned over, I was right behind it,” Izzi said.

He hit the brakes and got out of the car to help.

Frank Tucker, a football player at Western High School in Davie, Fla., said the students had no idea why they had come to a stop until he peeked out the window.

“I saw the bottom of the van,” he told ABCNews.com. “We kind of reacted to it, ran out of the limo and did what we had to do.”

Izzi and the teens braved blood and broken glass to pull five adults, a 9-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl to safety.

Go here for the rest of the story.