February 28, 2015

Classless and Spiteful: Jezebel’s ‘Update’ to False Walker Sexual Assault Reporting Story

As noted this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Jezebel’s Natasha Vargas-Cooper wrote a Friday morning hit piece directed at Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican Governor, calling him a “conservative werewolf” for including a provision in the Badger State’s latest proposed budget to elminate the requirement that universities report campus sexual assault statistics to the state.

Vargas-Cooper took this to mean that all such sexual assault reporting would end. Hardly. Hours later, an unbylined Associated Press story carried at USA Today (but still not carried at its national site) made it clear that a) the University of Wisconsin system had requested the provision, and b) such statistics would continue to be reported to the federal government. Jezebel’s “correction” and Vargas-Cooper’s spiteful tweeted reaction follow the jump.

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AP’s Crutsinger Provides Four (Not Five) Weak Reasons Why Lowered 4th Quarter GDP Isn’t a Problem

After yesterday’s government report on economic growth reduced the fourth quarter’s originally estimated increase in gross domestic product from an annualized 2.6 percent to 2.2 percent, you just knew that the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, would try to ride to the rescue.

Late Friday afternoon, the AP’s Martin Crutsinger gamely tried to concoct five reasons why we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads over a growth figure which confirms that the worst post-World War II recovery on record continues to be the worst post-World War II recovery on record. He only came up with four highly questionable reasons, while pretending he still had five (bolds and numbered tags are mine; I also numbered the reporter’s reasons):

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Jezebel Writer Falsely Accuses Walker of Wanting to Stop Reporting of Campus Sexual Assaults

On Friday morning at Jezebel, a Gawker-affiliated web site, Natasha Vargas-Cooper thought she had Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker by the — well, you know.

In a post tellingly tagged “Conservative Werewolves,” Vargas-Cooper was absolutely sure — so certain that she apparently felt no need to check any further — that Walker’s proposed budget would allow its colleges to “to stop reporting sexual assaults.” Vicious vitriol ensued (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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February 27, 2015

AP Report on Wisconsin Right to Work Move Presents Union Side Only

A couple of thousand protesters have showed up to rail against the Wisconsin Legislature’s move to pass right to work legislation this week.

That number is far smaller than what was seen four years ago, when Badger State Governor Scott Walker championed Act 10, a budget repair bill which limited — but please note, contrary to frequent press assertions, did not eliminate — most public-sector unions’ collective bargaining rights. Todd Richmond’s Wednesday evening coverage of the situation in Madison at the Associated Press got plenty of perspectives from union members and others upset with the legislature’s latest move, but predictably failed to get any insights from right to work supporters or those skeptical of protesters’ positions. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbereed tags are mine):

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Former WashPost Reporter at the Fiscal Times Falsely Claims Food Stamp Caseload Is Down 11 Percent

The Fiscal Times is a generally strong and informative online publication. That said, it has occasionally exhibits symptoms of what could be seen as either serious leftist bias, quite disappointing ignorance, or both.

One such example arrived in my email box early this morning. It contained the following headline and opening tease for a story concerning the food stamp program:

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February 26, 2015

AP’s Dilanian Avoids Clapper’s ‘Worst in 45 Years’ Threat Statement

At the Associated Press late Thursday morning, Ken Dilanian, the wire service’s intelligence writer, did a marvelous job of covering up the essence of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s Worldwide Threat Assessment testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The trouble is that if he were doing his job as our Founders anticipated he would when they gave the nation’s press extraordinary and then unheard-of freedoms, he would have covered the story instead of covering it up.

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At AP, a Vague Headline and Weak Coverage of the Halbig Contingency Plan Controversy

The Associated Press’s headline at Alan Fram’s coverage of the controversy over the existence of an Obama administration contingency plan if it loses the Halbig v. Burwell case pending at the Supreme Court may be among the most inchoherent ever: “GOP CLAIMS PAPER SHOWS FED AIDES’ PREPS FOR HEALTH LAW LOSS.”

“Paper”? What is in question is an alleged 100-page contingency plan should the Court declare that subsidies paid by HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance exchange for over three dozen states, are illegal. “Health law loss”? What does that even mean? The AP seems to be hoping that the story’s lousy headline will cause most potential readers to ignore it. Fram’s actual story also has its share of weaknesses, the most important of which is his failure to identify the administration’s declaration that such a a plan doesn’t exist as a de facto admission of a fundanmental and serious management failure (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):

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MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry: I Hope Trayvon ‘Whooped the Sh**’ Out of Zimmerman

While it’s performing a long overdue housecleaning, MSNBC should point its broom in Melissa Harris-Perry’s direction and sweep her off the network for her anti-democratic, violence-advocating rant earlier this week at Cornell University.

Among other things, Harris-Perry told her audience that George Zimmerman deserved whatever injuries he received at the hands of Trayvon Martin in the violent February 2012 confrontation which began with Martin pommeling Zimmerman and ended in Martin’s death.

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Greta Van Susteren Roasts Rice, and the Obama Administration, Over Describing Netanyahu’s Upcoming Congressional Speech as ‘Destructive’

Wednesday night, Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren sharply criticized Susan Rice for her Tuesday comment about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s impending March 3 speech to Congress, namely that “On both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship, which is not only unfortunate, but I think it’s destructive of the fabric of the relationship.” To be clear, Rice is not freelancing. Wednesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that “what she said was entirely consistent with what the President said publicly before.”

This was too much for Van Susteren, who needed only 45 seconds of the 90-second clip which follows to rattle off a half-dozen examples of how the Obama administration’s conduct has been “destructive” to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

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February 25, 2015

Did Obama’s Endorsement Hurt Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Now Forced Into a Runoff?

Once you become Chicago’s mayor — or one of it alderman, for that matter — getting reelected is ordinarily a fairly easy proposition.

The scheduling of Election Day, the fourth Tuesday in February in an off year, is deliberately designed to generate a low-turnout result. Incumbents’ well-oiled political machines turn out their old reliable voters, while challengers have to motivate people who ordinarily vote once every two or four years to show up at the polls to have any kind of chance. Thus, the fact the President Obama-endorsed incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel couldn’t seal the deal on Tuesday is utterly astonishing.

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AP Predictably Distorts Coverage of DOJ’s Decision Not to Charge Zimmerman

In an almost completely expected decision, the Department of Justice yesterday announced that it “found insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012.”

In reporting on the announcement, Jennifer Kay and Eric Tucker at the Associated Press were predictably selective in recounting the details of the case while ignoring or downplaying others.

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February 23, 2015

Juan Williams: There Are ‘Elements of Racism’ in Today’s Constitution

In a discussion with plenty of other objectionable elements on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Friday, Juan Williams asserted that “There’s no question that if you look at our Constitution, there are elements of racism right in it.” Note his use of the present tense.

The version of this country’s founding document Williams was referencing must be 147 or more years old, because the only element of the original Constitution which was arguably racist — the inclusion of non-free persons as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of allocating House seats in Article I — went away when the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868. Even that argument ignores the existence of white slaves at the time of its adoption.

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AP’s Kuhnhenn Seems to Enjoy Obama ‘Taunting’ Republicans About Worst Economy in 62 Years

On Friday, Jim Kuhnhenn at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, seemed to enjoy President Barack Obama’s rant against Republicans and others grossly dissatisfied with the economy’s performance on his watch. He described Obama as “taunting Republicans” in his speech at the Democratic Party’s winter meeting in Washington.

The wire service itself seems less enamored of Kuhnhenn’s less than presidential portrayal of Obama. Based on a search on “taunting,” the first word in his report, it is no longer present at the AP’s national site.

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February 22, 2015

WashPost’s Milbank Accuses Walker of Giuliani-Related ‘Cowardice’

In his Friday Washington Post column, Dana Milbank accused Scott Walker of “cowardice” which “ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender.”

Walker’s alleged “cowardice” was his failure to disown the following remark made by New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “I do not believe that the president loves America.” Last time I checked, Rudy’s entitled to his opinion, and Walker’s entitled to opt out of psychoanalyzing the Oval Office’s current occupant. This sent Milbank into a blind fury (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

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The Economy’s Worst 8-Year Run in 62 Years

With two more rough years on the horizon.

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This column went up at PJ Media Friday evening and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Saturday.

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A couple of publications have noted that 2014 was the ninth consecutive year during which the U.S. economy grew by less than 3 percent.

They’re being too kind. Last year was the eighth year in a row of sub-2.5 percent growth, following four straight years (2003-2006) of higher growth.

It’s hardly a coincidence that the first year of that awful 2007-2014 streak just so happens to have been the same year that the Democratic Party took legislative control in Washington.

The nation’s political and media elites were quite pleased with themselves when the November 2006 elections brought about that result, largely because their daily hostility to all things Republican and/or conservative contributed mightily to it. They were absolutely ecstatic when Barack Obama, Mr. Perfectly Creased Pants, won the November 2008 presidential election and took office in January 2009.

As will be seen shortly, the former event marked the beginning of the U.S. economy’s worst eight-year stretch since 1945-1952. Obama’s presence in the Oval Office until January 2017 virtually ensures that we’ll have at least two more years of the policies which brought on that miserable result.

Raising the minimum wage was a key agenda item for new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority leader Harry Reid after their party took over Congress in 2007. The resulting effects on overall employment have been gruesome, to the point where the people who arbitrarily determine such things have absurdly decided, in the interest of covering their tracks, that the 4.5 percent unemployment rate seen during the middle of the past decade is no longer achievable, and that “full employment” is really a rate of 5.5 percent.

The higher minimum federal wage, and the even higher hourly minimums seen in many states and cities, have been especially disastrous for the very people supposedly targeted for help. Since the end of 2006, the seasonally adjusted black teen unemployment rate has risen by 5.5 points to 29.7 percent; that rate got perilously close to 50 percent during the recession. The only reason that the number of unemployed black teens is barely higher now than it was eight years ago is that far fewer of them are even bothering to look for work, and therefore aren’t considered part of that statistic. The average black teen labor force participation rate during 2014 of 27.2 percent was 6.8 points lower than that seen eight years earlier; the 2014 average employment-population ratio of 18.2 percent was 5.9 points lower.

Not satisfied with the number of job prospects they have already ruined for those who most need their first gainful employment opportunity, President Obama continues to push for a minimum-wage increase to $10.10 per hour, while leftist fever-swamp cities like Seattle are heading towards hourly rates as high as $15. More unemployment and more of the harmful effects of idleness await.

Congressional actions hostile to the economy during 2007 and 2008, poorly resisted by President George W. Bush and the Republican congressional minority, were bad enough. After Obama sewed up the Democratic presidential nomination in the spring of 2008, he and his party worsened matters. Their hostility towards developing energy resources and their intent to impose tax and regulatory overkill if elected became readily apparent, sending the economy into a far bigger swoon than the housing bubble alone would have caused. Thus was born the Pelosi-Obama-Reid (POR) economy.

When I first recognized the rapidly deteriorating situation, I asked:

In this business climate, are you going to hire more people? Replace employees when they leave? Expand your business?

As anyone could have predicted, the answers were “No,” “No,” and “Heck no.”

During the presidential transition, Obama let his community organizer mask slip on a few key occasions, inflicting further serious damage. One such incident occurred when he supported union workers illegally occupying a bankrupt company’s plant by telling reporters: “They’re absolutely right.” I wrote at the time that Obama’s statement of solidarity “set off alarms in the offices of entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and investors everywhere.” In the first full month after the sit-in, the economy shed more jobs than in any other month since such records have been kept.

Two years of Democratic control of Congress followed by six years of Obamanomics have given us the worst economic performance in 62 years:

8yearGDPgrowthPostWW2to2014

The 1952 result contains four difficult years of transition to peacetime following World War II; two minimum wage increases during that period may also have held the economy back. After that, the economy stayed generally healthy over long-term periods for over 50 years, until 2006. Even someone not conversant with economic policy can recognize that something has gone terribly wrong since then.

The already awful 9.99 percent result for 2007-2014 seems destined to drop a bit further. The latest estimates for fourth-quarter economic growth are coming in at an annualized 1.7 percent to 2.0 percent, far lower than the 2.6 percent the government reported in late January.

They are dozens of contributors to the current malaise, but three of them capsulize the horrid situation:

  • The Obama administration has spent six years passive-aggressively dithering over approving the 1,200-mile Keystone Pipeline — even though the nation currently has 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines in place functioning virtually without incident.
  • Operators of certain legal but politically incorrect businesses have seen their banking relationships terminated by financial institutions intimidated into their decisions by the government’s Operation Choke Point. This is a development which one observer correctly noted should be “terrifying to business owners in every industry.”
  • The administration has been operating a “shadow immigration system,” which during the past six years has issued 5.5 million work permits to non-citizens. No wonder legal U.S. citizens aren’t impressed by the government’s reported job-growth numbers.

Thus, agenda-driven regulators are deliberately holding up economic progress and bullying existing businesses, while illegal competition undercuts citizens who want jobs. It’s utterly amazing that the U.S. economy is growing at all. Given a recent report that “fewer native-born Americans are working today than were at the end of 2007,” perhaps the “U.S. citizen economy” really hasn’t.

Madnesses such as those just described, and so many others, will continue as long as Congress is unwilling to fully exercise its power of the purse. Unless we see a miraculous change in outlook, that’s not going to happen.

Prepare for two more very rough years.