December 18, 2014

Fox’s Shepard Smith Hopes Cuba Relations Thaw Doesn’t ‘Ruin the Place’

Those who rail at Fox News for allegedly being a haven of unbridled, uninterrupted conservatism usually and conveniently fail to remember that Shepard Smith is there.

Smith’s take yesterday on the potential pitfalls of a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations, particularly on the commercial front, was nothing short of astonishing. His primary fear, expressed in an interview with Gerri Willis of the Fox Business Network, is that the new arrangements might “ruin the place.” It would be “the last thing they need” to see “Taco Bell and Lowes” locations there. Smith also posed as a market analyst, wondering if the Dow was up 300 points because of President Obama’s related announcement. Video (HT Mediaite and PJ Media’s Ed Driscoll) and a transcript follow the jump:

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December 16, 2014

AP’s Story on Federal Judge’s Immigration Opinion Woefully Incomplete

Earlier tonight, Curtis Houck at NewsBusters observed that the Tuesday evening network news shows failed to report on an opinion issued today by a federal judge in Western Pennsylvania in connection with President Obama’s illegal immigration-related executive actions last month.

Several blogs and center-right outlets noted Judge Arthur Schwab’s 38-page “Memorandum Opinion” this afternoon. Not that this excuses the networks, but a search at the Associated Press’s national site just before 8 p.m. on Schwab’s last name (unfortunately not saved) returned nothing relevant. But shortly after 8 p.m. a story with a time stamp of 5:08 p.m. with Schwab’s name finally showed up in the same search. Only the AP can explain how this could have happened.

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Politico Mag’s Peterson Falsely Contends That Louisville’s Air Quality Has Worsened

In a December 9 article at Politico Magazine went after Louisville’s “urban heat island” problem, where “a city’s center experiences significantly hotter temperatures than its less-developed surroundings.”

In doing so, Peterson rolled out some very questionable statistics. But it’s her contention that “As pollution and stagnant air bake in the sun” in the city’s heat island, “air quality worsens” that was really over the top. If that statement were true, Louisville’s air quality should have deteriorated as its heat island problem has grown. The truth is, as Powerline’s Steven Hayward demonstrated yesterday, that the Derby City’s air quality has significantly improved.

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Vox’s Max Fisher: Asking Muslims to Condemn Jihadist Terror Is ‘Bigoted and Islamophobic’

Today, the world has learned that terrorists with the Taliban, the group of Islamic fundamentalist jihadists who have rained terror on Afghanistan and Pakistan for nearly two decades, “attacked a school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children.” The death toll will almost certainly rise as some of the 114 children the BBC has reported are injured fail to survive.

But don’t ask Muslims to condemn this cowardly attack on innocents. If you do, you’ll upset Max Fisher at Vox, who just yesterday (HT Twitchy), in exquisite timing, insisted that it’s “bigoted and Islamophobic” to expect anything of the sort:

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December 15, 2014

Politico Mag Writer Describes Center-Right Sites With More Traffic As ‘Fringier’

One of the more amusing aspects of observing today left-biased establishment media environment is seeing agenda-driven journalists directly or indirectly convey a clearly inflated sense of their outlets’ self-importance.

A recent example of this came Friday from Jacob Silverman at Politico Magazine. In his writeup on conservative firebrand Charles Johnson, Silverman employed the comparative version of a word – “fringy” – rarely used in the political realm. Silverman described Breitbart and The Blaze as “even fringier” than … well, let’s try to figure that one out.

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NYT Corrects Saturday ‘Justice For All’ Marches Coverage Twice, Ignores NYC ‘We Want Dead Cops’ Chants

It’s a good thing that establishment press publications like the New York Times have those layers of editors and fact-checkers. They’re able to prevent embarrassing things like misstatements of commonly known facts, misidentifications of key parties involved in recent events, and misspellings those sloppy bloggers and new media types routinely publish.

Oh, wait a minute. All three types of errors occurred in just one New York Times item this weekend. After publishing its original story by Jennifer Steinhauer and Elena Schneider on this Saturday’s so-called “Justice For All” March in Washington, which also included coverage of New York’s related event, the Times issued a correction which has to be seen to be believed (HT Twitchy):

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December 14, 2014

AP Reporter Thinks We’re Thrilled to Be ‘Finally Getting One Over’ on Gas Stations

Here’s a small window into a journalist’s mindset.

In a report on how lower gas prices are affecting the companies operating retail gas stations, Associated Press reporter John Fahey revealed his apparent believes that there are millions of us walking around, perhaps including him, obsessed with getting back at gas station owners for charging us so much at fill-up time for years:

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December 13, 2014

Barely News: Congresswoman Lummis’s ‘Most Moving Moment’ at Gruber Hearing

Dictionary.com defines “glib” as “readily fluent, often thoughtlessly, superficially, or insincerely so.”

Jonathan Gruber’s apology at his Tuesday congressional hearing included that word. The word, especially the “superficial” element of its definition, applies to how the establishment press covered the hearing. With only rare exceptions, it excluded any mention of what has accurately been called “the most moving moment of the Gruber hearing”: Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis’s emotional recounting of how her husband died while the status of his coverage under Obamacare was in dispute.

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December 12, 2014

Congresswoman’s Husband Dies While in Obamacare Limbo

I was hoping to do more with this item this morning, but getting ready for this got in the way (I know, it’s late notice for those who don’t go to Facebook, but hopefully a few readers will be able to make it to the musical extravaganza described at the links).

Anyway, Wyoming Republican Congresswomn Cynthia Lummis gave her own form of testimony during the John Gruber hearing on Tuesday (beginnning at the 0:45 mark in the video below). Since the establishment press has decided it’s not newsworthy — and they’re full of crap, as usual — I’m showing it below (HT Western Journalism Center and others):

Money quote:

… the so-called ‘glibness’ that has been referenced today have direct consequences for real American people. So get over your damn glibness.”

This whole administration can take its arrogant glibness and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.

More BLS BS

There’s far less than meets the eye in November’s jobs report.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog Wednesday morning.

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UPDATE, Dec. 12: Longtime commenter dscott wants to make sure I remind everybody of the following item I left on the cutting room floor (and maybe shouldn’t have) —

[F]ull-time employment is STILL 2.4 million below where it was in November 2007 (seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted) — seven long years ago. But yet, wer’re supposed to believe that Obama administration policies, and particularly Obamacare, have nothing to do with this incredibly depressing statistic.

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On Saturday at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, reporter Christopher Rugaber described the economy’s pickup of 321,000 payroll jobs in November as “booming.”

Not so fast, pal.

Even if you accept that November’s seasonally adjusted result fairly reflects the underlying reality — and it doesn’t, which will be shown shortly — it will only be “booming” once we see such a figure repeated for at least five more months. On a workforce-adjusted basis, the analogous post-recession period during Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the 1980s had a streak of 19 out of 20 months with an equal or better performance than just seen in November while averaging 323,000 monthly job additions over 65 months. Monthly job growth during the Obama administration’s 65-month faux recovery has averaged only 140,000.

Additionally, the seasonal adjustment process at the Bureau of Labor Statistics — an attempt to normalize results to smooth out normal and supposedly predictable fluctuations occurring throughout the year — generated an artificially high November result, as illustrated in the following comparison:

NSAandSAjobAddsSepNov2008to2014

As seen in the red boxes, BLS currently estimates that the economy really added 497,000 jobs in November. That’s 26,000 fewer than were added in November 2013. Yet somehow, after seasonal adjustment, November 2014 came in 47,000 jobs higher than the same month last year. A more reasonable seasonally adjusted result in Friday’s report would have been in the neighborhood of 250,000 — far from awful, but definitely not “booming.”

By contrast, as seen in the green boxes, October’s seasonally adjusted result understated that month’s strength. Before adjusting for workforce size, the 1.051 million in estimated job additions that month is the best result since the government began monthly recordkeeping in 1939, and is 107,000 jobs greater than November 2013. October is the month which should have seen a seasonally adjusted result well above 300,000; instead, it was barely better than October 2013.

What’s going on here?

As former BLS head Keith Hall told John Crudele last year, as paraphrased by the New York Post reporter:

All parts of Washington’s data-collecting machine adjust to smooth out the bumps caused by the seasons of the year. But the recession that started five years ago was so severe and the recovery so anemic that the seasonal adjustments have been thrown off.

Gee, I’ve been saying that for over five years, including this statement from mid-2011:

In normal times, it’s usually acceptable for data users to stick with seasonally adjusted (SA) information while avoiding the adventure of delving into and analyzing the raw, not seasonally adjusted stuff. But these are not normal times. … In abnormal times such as these, you cannot be sure that the SA data adequately reflects what’s happening in the raw information.

To be clear, I’m not alleging that the BLS is deliberately engaging in deception in its Establishment Survey of employers — yet. But the agency knows how misleading its official adjusted data have often been, and has done next to nothing to alert the public to the problem. Meanwhile, reporters in the business press, most of whom know better, still treat the adjusted numbers as gospel while barely acknowledging the raw numbers’ existence.

Thus, the public has every reason to believe that November was a great month in the job market, while October was lukewarm. The reality is exactly the opposite — which should be leading people to wonder if economic conditions might once again be deteriorating.

One likely reason why the press isn’t interested in touching the BLS’s detailed machinations is the strong likelihood that there have been and continue to be problems with data integrity and manipulation in the Household Survey. That’s the Census Bureau-managed operation which collects the information used to calculate the nation’s unemployment rate and the civilian population’s degree of engagement.

The Post’s Crudele, virtually the only reporter in the land pointing out the fundamental problems in the government’s jobs reports, noted last week that “whistleblowers in five of the six Census regions in the US have alleged data were being falsified on a regular basis.” The falsification is occurring because workers who can’t meet the Department of Labor’s aggressive and likely unrealistic survey completion requirements are submitting fake surveys.

A likely far bigger problem with the Household Survey, based on discussions I’ve had with an informant out in the trenches, is that BLS, under current far-left agenda-driven director Erica Groshen, appears to have stealthily raised the bar for what it takes to be considered actively looking for work. If you aren’t considered an active job seeker, you’re not considered unemployed, or even part of the civilian labor force. As a result, there’s reason to believe that BLS is deliberately undercounting the number of unemployed by several million, thereby significantly understating the unemployment rate.

Hall believes that the unemployment rate’s understatement may be as high as three percentage points. Imagine how different everyone’s outlook would be if he is right, and today’s unemployment rate, consistently defined and calculated, is really over 8.5 percent. My Census informant tells me that almost every experienced worker in the field believes that the government’s current reported unemployment rate of 5.8 percent is really much higher.

Other indicators point to the existence of a genuinely higher unemployment rate.

Take food stamps. Even given the program’s aggressive recruitment efforts and overly lax qualification requirements, it’s hard to square the idea that the unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to below 6 percent in the 36 months ending in September, while food stamp enrollment remained between 46 million and 48 million during that entire time.

Now let’s look at income. The Census Bureau alums at Sentier Research estimate that real median household income is still 5 percent below where it was before the Great Recession officially began, and that it has barely budged in the past year. An economy which really has an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent would be showing far more signs of upward pressure on wages. Those questioning the unemployment rate surely should include administration apologists who believe that “full employment” has somehow become 5.5 percent instead of the 4.0-4.5 percent commonly accepted a decade ago.

Sadly, the BLS’s credibility is quickly becoming yet another casualty of the President’s self-described “most transparent administration” ever. We’re all poorer because of it — figuratively and literally.

December 11, 2014

Gruber Called a ‘Household Name’ in an LA Times Editorial, While the Paper Had No News Stories

Tuesday afternoon, Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters observed that the Big Three networks “Appear Finished With Gruber Coverage,” and that their Tuesday morning shows had no coverage of the de facto Obamacare architect and his congressional appearance.

One factor likely influencing the nets’ posture is how original news sources like the Associated Press and the nation’s largest dailies have managed to shield their readers from almost anything relating to Gruber for weeks. One particularly comical example of that has been the Los Angeles Times.

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Celeb-Worshipping WaPo Thoroughly Vets U.Va.’s ‘Jackie,’ Lets Dunham Off the Hook

Two recent items in the Washington Post support my contention that the establishment press is currently doing more than anyone besides Lena Dunham and “Jackie,” both of whom have been irrefutably exposed as rape story fabulists, to cause victims of sexual assault to be reluctant to come forward (Note: That’s not to say that the two women haven’t been victims of sexual assault, “only” that the stories they are currently promulgating cannot possibly be true).

As Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted this morning, the Post provided feminist character witnesses supporting Dunham (including one who still “completely believe(s) her”) and made pathetic excuses for the “Girls” star, including that she has a “demanding job.” Meanwhile — and to be clear, this is appropriate work which Rolling Stone should have done in the first place — the Post has been thoroughly vetting the story of alleged University of Virginia fraternity gang-rape victim “Jackie.” We’re now at the point where the coed’s original story, like Dunham’s, which “evaporated into pixie dust” after Breitbart’s John Nolte’s fact-check, has also become impossible to believe.

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December 10, 2014

St. Louis Reporter: Dorian Johnson, Now Hired by City As a Temp, ‘Rose to Fame’ in Michael Brown Saga

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Nick Pistor has quite an odd take on Dorian Johnson, the closest eyewitness to the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in early August.

The occasion enabling Pistor to publicly purvey his perception was news on Monday that Johnson had taken a job with the City of St. Louis. Before getting to those details, let’s look at Pistor’s astonishing opening paragraph (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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Year 10 Christmas/Holiday Layoff and Shopping Searches: Round 2

Background behind these annual searches is here and here.

Here are the results of this year’s first round of searches:

Here goes (for the past month; searches done at about 8 PM ET on December 10):

That is still the lowest “Christmas” component ever. The lowest-ever result for a full Christmas season (three searches) was 8.5% in 2012. The press seems determined to separate “shopping” from the reason for the season, and is apparently getting more successful at doing so.

Now on to the second set of searches (for the past month):

  • Christmas layoffs (not in quotes, also excluding the word “challenger” to ensure that about 30 items relating to the mass layoffs report issued by Challenger & Christmas were exluded) — 40,500 (27.6%)
  • Holiday layoffs (not in quotes) — 26,700 (18.2%)
  • Holidays layoffs (not in quotes) — 79,300 (54.2%)

As has been the case in previous years, the press is far more likely to use “Christmas” in connection with layoffs (4 times as likely in the most recent set — 27.6% vs. 6.7%), an obviously negative thing, than it is to use “Christmas” in connection with shopping and commerce, a generally positive or neutral thing.

The third search will take place in roughly two weeks.

Pace’s Pity Party at AP: Obama Still Handicapped by Bush 43′s ‘Legacy,’ ‘Security Apparatus’

Nearly six years into Barack Obama’s presidency, it’s still George W. Bush’s fault.

Early Wednesday morning, Julie Pace at the Associated Press proved yet again why it is more than appropriate to characterize the wire service where she works as the Administration’s Press. The headline at Pace’s story tells us that poor President Barack Obama still has to confront the “Bush legacy,” and is still stuck with his wars and “big chunks of Bush’s national security apparatus.” Cry me a river, Julie. One of Pace’s more important omissions is the fact that the enhanced interrogations program Senate Democrats are decrying was a creation of none other than Bill Clinton.

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