May 22, 2015

Hostess’s Revival: What Can Happen When You’re Allowed to Start Fresh

Given how much wailing and gnashing of teeth there was in the press when the old Hostess liquidated in 2012, a mid-April story at Forbes on the company’s revival has gotten surprisingly little attention. Well, maybe it’s not that much of a surprise, for reasons which will be indentified here.

Readers may recall that the final straw in that drama occurred late that year when the the AFL-CIO-affiliated Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers union called a strike after rejecting management clearly communicated final offer. The company, already in bankruptcy, was through negotiating, and chose to liquidate. The press moaned about how all of this meant the end of an era. Steven Bertoni’s Forbes writeup shows how wrong they were, and what a business can accomplish when it’s not saddled with legacy costs and constraints.

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Quip of the Day

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:03 am

From today Consumer Price Index April release at the Bureay of Labor Statistics:

The medical care index rose 0.7 percent, its largest increase since January 2007. The index for medical care services rose 0.9 percent with the hospital services index rising 1.9 percent.

All in just one month.

Zero Hedge’s reaction: “Thanks Obamacare.”

May 21, 2015

State Gets Paper Copies of Hillary’s Emails; Is She Hiding Info Available Digitially?

In a complete non-surprise given her career track record, Hillary Clinton’s definition of “cooperation” with requests to turn over whatever emails she unilaterally deigned could be seen meant giving them to the State Despartment on paper.

That’s lots and lots of paper, 55,000 pages in all, some of them double-sided, all seemingly part of a conscious strategy to deliberately slow down the process at taxpayers’ expense. It’s quite easy to believe that if a Republican or conservative politician engaged in these tactics instead of turning over digital files, the press would be giving this a lot more exposure. Beyond that, a person with IT experience has informed me that Mrs. Clinton may have chosen to turn in paper copies of those emails because digital copies might have exposed damning information.

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Houston Chronicle Reporter Writes That Ted Cruz Believes Opponents Will Force People Into Same-Sex Unions

This afternoon, Dylan Baddour at the Houston Chronicle comically interpreted a remark made by 2016 GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz as meaning that Texas’s junior senator is worried that same-sex “marriage” proponents are “trying to force all Americans into same-sex unions.”

The only open question is whether Baddour is so dense that he really believes what he wrote, or if he was trying to spread an obvious lie about a GOP candidate’s statement so that some people would actually believe his nonsense, thereby partially poisoning the electoral well.

Here is the part of what Baddour originally which was later changed, as captured by Caleb Howe at Truth Revolt:

Cruz apparently believes that efforts to let same-sex couples marry in the United States would force him to wed a man.

Here is how it currently looks at the comical Chronicle:

Cruz recently made comments on a conservative radio show that suggest “mandatory gay marriage” may be on the way.

But to be clear, there is still serious fever-swamp paranoia in Baddour’s write just a couple of paragraphs later in the revised story:

In an interview with conservative talk radio host Eric Metaxas on Friday, Cruz apparently alleged his political opponents were trying to force all Americans into same-sex unions.

For heaven’s sake, no one believes that. “Mandatory gay marriage” is about force, but “only” about forcing states to allow same-sex marriages to occur and forcing the states to recognize them.

The Chronicle can’t possibly allow that sentence to stand.

Baddour’s blather is reminiscent of Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s crude, ignorant attempt to smear Wisconsin Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker in late February at Jezebel. Vargas-Cooper originally claimed that Walker wanted colleges to stop reporting sexual assaults. Three months later, her post still carries that dishonest headline (“Scott Walker Wants Colleges to Stop Reporting Sexual Assaults”), which will conveniently give any readers who stumble upon her post and don’t read on the impression that the headline’s claim is still true.

It isn’t. Vargas-Cooper ultimately, but only after a great deal of online drama-queen agony, apologized on Twitter. That’s nice, but the Jezebel “correction” at the original post only apologizes for not providing “full context” and for presenting “an unfair and misleading picture.”

That’s utterly inadequate. In reality, Vargas-Cooper’s story is utter horse manure. Scott Walker doesn’t “want colleges to stop reporting sexual assaults.” Instead, he was asked by the University of Wisconsin system to delete redundant reporting requirements.

That’s it. There was no story.

We’re supposed to believe that the Houston Chronicle is not like Jezebel. It’s supposedly a reputable news organization which cares about the ultimate accuracy of what it publishes.

If that’s really the case, it’s not showing in the current instance.

What’s more, the Jezebel incident was clearly journalistic negligence. The proper characterization of the origins of the Chronicle’s lie about Ted Cruz, as noted in this post’s introduction, remains an open question.

Given the only two possibilities — breathtaking ignorance or maliciously lying — I don’t see how the Chronicle can defend continuing Dylan Baddour’s employment — and it obviously still owes its readers and the general public a correction, and an apology.

Paper on ‘Changing Minds’ on Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Retracted, Media Outlet Retractions Abound

Examples of scientific fakery in matters relating to sexuality and especially homosexuality go back decades, all the way to Alfred Kinsey.

One of the more recent such underhanded episodes, involving a paper originally published in December 2014, was called “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality.” It claimed that “a single conversation (can) change minds on divisive social issues, such as same-sex marriage.” That assertion made by a “layman” wouldn’t pass the smell test with most people. But because the paper was published in Science Magazine (“The World’s Leading Journal of Scientific Research, Global News and Commentary”), it gained a now-obviously clearly undeserved veneer of credibility.

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AP, After Nationally Hyped Preview, Treats GOP Win GOP in Jacksonville Mayor’s Race as a Local Story

The idea that the nation’s largest cities are impenetrable Democratic Party strongholds took a serious hit Tuesday night. In Jacksonville, the nation’s 13th-largest city, a Republican took back the mayor’s office, unseating the incumbent Democrat who won four years ago.

Predictably, the Associated Press, perhaps sensing that Democrat Alvin Brown might hold on in his reelection attempt, treated the hotly contested race as a national story before the election, identifying Brown as a 2011 beneficiary of a Barack Obama campaign effort which “targeted … 2008 and 2012 with the goal of making a solidly Republican area more competitive,” and tagging him as “on a short list of Democrats seen as potential candidates for governor in 2018″ if he won. Today, with Republican Lenny Curry winning the race, it’s crickets at the wire service’s national site:

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Initial Unemployment Claims (052115): 274K SA; Raw Claims 16 Percent Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:27 am

Predictions at Yahoo’s Business Calendar: 265,000 seasonally adjusted claims at Briefing.com; 270,000 for the “markets.”

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending May 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 274,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 264,000. The 4-week moving average was 266,250, a decrease of 5,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 271,750. This is the lowest level for this average since April 15, 2000 when it was 266,250.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 242,794 in the week ending May 16, a decrease of 88 (less than -0.1 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 8,722 (or -3.6 percent) from the previous week. There were 287,398 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

The seasonal adjustment factors were virtually identical for last week and the same week last year.

Though its larger meaning is debatable, the report itself is another strong result.

May 20, 2015

As Press Ignores Soldiers Who Fought and Won at Ramadi, Debbie Lee Speaks Out

Web and news searches at Google, as well as a search at the Associated Press’s national site, indicate that there is very little interest in the establishment press in getting the reactions of current and former U.S. soldiers who defeated enemy forces in Ramadi during last decade’s Iraq War to the loss of that city to Islamic State forces.

Sadly, that’s not surprising. Posters at NewsBusters have noted three different times the broadcast networks’ reluctance to air any form of criticism of the Obama administration’s decision to take U.S. tropps out of Iraq when it did or the Pentagon’s strategy (assuming one exists) for turning things around. As usual, Fox News is doing work the rest of the press refuses to do. This morning, Debbie Lee, whose son Marc Alan Lee, the first Navy SEAL killed in the Iraq War, died at Ramadi, appeared on Fox & Friends. Video, plus an excerpt from a rare exception to the establishment press’s indifference at the Daily Beast, follow the jump.

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Slate’s Saletan: ‘ISIS and the GOP Are in Perfect Harmony’

On Tuesday, I wrote that “Every day seems to bring in at least one new example of alleged journalists who are really propagandists insisting that what is obviously false is true.”

Today’s entry into that category will be extremely hard to beat, and may well stand as one of the worst attempts at an argument ever made by a leftist hack. Before I excerpt William Saletan’s column at Slate and his attempt to describe it in detail, I’ll ratify the observation in the column’s current top comment: “So during WWII, Japan said they were at war with the USA. The USA agreed. So that means we were ‘sounding a lot like Japan’?”

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Attention Ohio Media: Governors Whose States Lost a Combined Million-Plus Jobs Set to Rally Party Faithful in Late June

The former Democratic governors of Michigan and Ohio are on tap to be in the same place at the same time on June 27 in the Buckeye State capital of Columbus.

This is a made-for-the-media event for the record books. I certainly can’t recall a time when two former governors who oversaw a combined total of over 1 million peak-to-trough job losses during their terms in office have been at the same place at the same time — to celebrate. Yes, I said celebrate.

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Politico Hack: ‘The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally’ (See BizzyBlog Add-on)

Daniel J. McGrow, who describes himself as a “writer and recombobulator” at his Twitter account, got seriously discombobulated in public on Sunday.

His headline at Politico is meant to reassure leftists who don’t read on that “The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally,” and that Democrats have an incredible advantage going into the 2016 elections. Those who do read his column should be able to recognize that he based his claim on an historically faulty assumption (bolds are mine thoughout this post):

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May 19, 2015

April Housing Starts and Building Permits Jump; Please Hold the Flippin’ Champagne

While improvement beats lack of it, the apparent euphoria over today’s news on housing starts and building permits needs some context.

Here is the context.

April’s actual total for housing starts of 103,700, while the best April since 2007, is only higher than four other Aprils since 1959, when the government began keeping such records: 1991, 1982, 1980 and 1975. The first and last of those years represented the first month after an officially declared recession ended. The middle two occurred during officially declared recessions.

The number of U.S. households was obviously much smaller during each of thse previous years. Adjusted for population, today’s result is still lower than every other year from 1959-2007 — even 1982′s 84,700.

As noted, while upward movements in economic activity are good news, celebrating a housing market which is still operating at historially recessionary levels is unseemly.

May 18, 2015

GOP Exposes Second Hillary Clinton Email Address NY Times Ignored

The New York Times has published two articles on the relationship between former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal. It has been known for some time that Blumenthal, barred by the Obama White House from working at State, nevertheless ran “a secret, private intelligence network” for Mrs. Clinton’s benefit, “apart from the State Department’s own Bureau of Intelligence and Research.”

The Times also published certain of the emails exchanged between the two, and either missed or ignored a major revelation contained in three of them. The national Republican Party didn’t:

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At WashPost, Philip Bump’s Anti-GOP Amtrak Harangue Is Chock Full of Falsehoods

It’s bad enough, as Bryan Ballas at NewsBusters noted on May 16, that the Washington Post’s Philip Bump dishonestly used last week’s Amtrak tragedy to rip Republican members of Congress for somehow being responsible for the (theoretically) for-profit entity’s “constant struggle” for funding.

As Sean Davis at the Federalist explained, Amtrak has really had no funding struggles. Bump had to make things up to create that impression, and even when caught, issued a “clarification” containing serious errors (HT Patterico, who has demanded corrections; bolds are mine):

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Final Proof and End of Argument …

Filed under: National Security,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:11 pm

… over whether Barack Obama’s reelection was legitimate.

It was not legitimate, and will not be considered legitimate by objective historians:

Hillary Received Memo Describing Benghazi As Planned Terror Attack Within Hours

New documents obtained by Judicial Watch and made public Monday show that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior officials under President Obama were given intelligence within hours of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack describing how it had been planned at least 10 days in advance “to kill as many Americans as possible.”

Glenn Reynolds, on Hillary Clinton:

THEN SHE STOOD NEXT TO THE COFFINS OF THE DEAD AND LIED …

… Also, they locked up a filmmaker for a year, just to support their cover story.

From Mrs. Clinton’s speech on September 14, 2012, “at Ceremony as Bodies of Americans Killed in Libya Arrive in the US” (video here):

This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.

It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless.

Oh, it all makes perfect sense now.