Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Washington Post-mortem

One of the most storied newspapers in the country is dead, and they don’t even know it.

Officially, The Washington Post is still in business, but much like some other troubled papers (Hello, Boston Globe!!), the Post is ‘financially challenged’. They recently had to offer yet another buyout to some of their staff (the Post’s 5th such offer in the last 9 years) to cut costs. Even worse, the Post was also shut out of the 2012 Pulitzer Prizes, so their collective ego is getting it from all sides. Add in that the Washington Post Company’s primary source of money, Kaplan University, is getting serious heat from the Left, and you’ll forgive me if I don’t believe that they’re “getting better“.

Most of you are aware of the primary issue which the physical newspaper industry has been having: drastically falling revenues. From 2010:

It’s no secret why papers are struggling, either: the New Media is killing them. Online is faster, and it’s tailored to every interest. You have blogs, podcasts, and everything is now.  Add in Twitter and Facebook, and it’s no wonder newspapers are in such trouble.

But I have another idea as to their downfall. It’s also the degree of their self-denial, which is most prevalent in the Newspaper world, that prevents them from making changes that could stop the bleeding.

The Post and their ilk all truly believe themselves to be unbiased (….I know, I know, ..stop laughing…..) and market themselves as such, whereas New Media generally admits its bias, and the market obviously likes the honesty. You need look no further than the front page of this morning’s Post for what I mean.

Among various headlines, three caught my eye:

Well now, those are some headlines!!

  1. In the first one, I’m wondering if we ever saw an “Obama’s Secrets” in the Post from four years ago? I don’t have access to Lexis-Nexus, but I’m willing to bet any such headline like that would have been written in less of a “National Inquirer” tone. Any takers?
  2. In the “GOP Freshman class” headline, you have three nouns in there: GOP class, ‘monster’, and havoc. No need for a degree in Advertising to see where this article wants to lead you from the start.
  3. And in the last one, that headline makes Democrat Senator McCaskill sound positively heroic, as she tries to defend us from “swinging farther right” (…oh, the horror…!).

If they just OWNED UP to their slant, that would be infinitely better. It’s easier to respect an institution that is aware of both its positives and negatives. They could just hire someone to go on the nightly news one night and say: “Hey, folks, thought we’d come clean about somethin’. Just so you know, worldview-wise? Well, we’re comin’ at ya from waaaay over on the the LEFT, ‘kay? Thanks awfully……”.

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But, of course, they won’t do that. Ever. So consider this a pre-eulogy for the once mighty Washington Post.

You’ll forgive me if I don’t shed a tear.

Agendas

Time to play a little game, shall we?

What if I told you that there was a major, non-profit news site which espoused in its charter that its intended razón para vivir was to combat a “liberal and/or Muslim-influenced ideology in news and commentary”?

Do you think that would make headlines? Generate boycotts? Gin up all sorts of outrageously outrageous outrage?

Yeah, …so do I.

So when I say that this actually exists, you may be wondering just why you haven’t read about it in the Boston Globe, USA Today, or the NY Times. And why you haven’t heard ANY of the talking heads on network TV overwrought that this must be the result of Rick Santorum or G. W. Bush (*shudder*), trying to turn our country into a theocracy.

You haven’t heard about it in any of those places because the company to which I’m referring is Media Matters, and what their IRS application for non-profit status actually said was:

“It is common for news and commentary by the press to present viewpoints that tend to overly promote…a conservative, Christian-influenced ideology“.

I must be watching all the wrong channels.

As far as I can see, each of the three big networks (plus PBS, CNN, MSNBC and most major newspapers) have a distinct bias, but it most certainly is not “to overly promote…a conservative, Christian-influenced ideology”.

So, I’m just gonna wonder aloud here: if this mythical bias really DID exist, and since this “news” has now come to light, wouldn’t we have heard something about it from all of those very same news and commentary outlets? Wouldn’t they be covering the story that they are basically being targeted by Media Matters? Wouldn’t that just make sense? Heck, even on just a couple? The Globe? CBS? Someone?

The very fact that we haven’t heard any such thing puts the lie to the very premise.

One other point: if Media Matters was REALLY so concerned about this “Christian” bias (…actually, that just makes me laugh…), wouldn’t it be nice to actually spell out their focus in their Public Mission Statement?

At least that way, we’d know what truly MATTERS to them.

Essential viewing: Bill Whittle

No time to complete the post I was working on, so today I’ll just share a couple of videos from one of my favorite pundits.

Bill Whittle has been on pajamasmedia since its inception. He’s smart, witty and researches his topics with scrupulous care. Plus, he’s fun to watch.

Two of his better ones in the past few months are as follows:

Bill Whittle: THE VOTE PUMP

&

Bill Whittle: THREE YEARS UNDER OBAMA

Happy viewing…..

Have a nice day!

You may wish to sit down for this one.

Last year, southern Arizona fell victim to a natural disaster. Dubbed the Monument Fire (since it started in the Coronado National Monument), it claimed roughly 30,000 acres in a two-week period.

 

From WND.com:

(The Monument Fire)…denuded the hillsides of vegetation. After the fire, record-breaking monsoon rains hit the region, triggering huge mudslides that left boulders the size of cars tumbling down hillsides.

The slides crushed Tombstone’s mountain spring waterlines and destroyed reservoirs for the town’s main water supply network.

And from kvoa.com:

Tombstone’s main water source are springs bubbling up in Miller Canyon, but the recent flooding after the fire has messed it all up.

Jack Wright, Tombstone’s Water Operator said, “It’s moved some boulders through here. You have seen caverns that didn’t exist. This was a drivable road a month ago.”

And then, …the real disaster happened. A Federal Government agency showed up.

From the dailycaller.com:

George Barnes, Tombstone’s city clerk and manager, explained to The Daily  Caller that since many of the pipelines are in a “wilderness area,” the U.S.  Forest Service will not allow the mechanized equipment needed to fix the  water-lines into the area for environmental reasons.

“We began working with the Forest Service but then we realized and found what  an incredible boondoggle that could be, even though we are very confident we  have a special status because our rights there pre-existed the Forest Service  and even the BLM [Bureau of Land Management]. We were there long before anything  and all we are asking is to fix our stuff,” Barnes said.

And perhaps my favorite quote:

……instead of allowing repairs as has happened in the past, “federal bureaucrats are refusing to allow Tombstone to unearth its springs and restore its water-lines unless [city officials] jump through a lengthy permitting process that will require the city to use horses and hand tools to remove boulders the size of Volkswagens.

Got all that?

A town, here in the United States, in the year 2012, needs to get their drinking water back, and a Federal agency says, “Sure, but please use machinery from ….the 1800’s, okay? Have a nice day!”

Tombstone is fighting this in court, but they need to win quickly, since a slow victory will still be a loss for whatever townspeople are left.

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This whole fiasco is eerily reminiscent of the California case back in 2009 with the San Joaquin Valley vs. the delta smelt, the main difference being this time the concern isn’t people’s livelihoods but rather their lives.

I have no idea whether this is merely typical, everyday environmental extremism, or just the latest example of federal overreach gone mad. And I really don’t want to consider the possibility that it has anything to do with President Petulant’s previous issues with the state of Arizona.

That would be impossible……wouldn’t it?

Truly Remarkable

I never watch the Sunday talk shows unless they have something to do with hockey or football, so I missed this until last night. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, he of the unpaid taxes, was on and made the following statement:

This president’s policies were extremely successful. If you measure what we did relative to the record of the United States in past crises and the record of other countries, history will judge what he did as remarkably effective crisis management at a deeply dark time for the world economy.

There’s colorful rhetoric, there’s political ‘spin’, …and then there’s that.

Did he actually say “remarkably effective”? Wow. We are three years into this presidency and our true unemployment is in the teens, for Pete’s sake. From the Congressional Budget Office:

The official unemployment rate excludes those individuals who would like to work but have not searched for a job in the past four weeks as well as those who are working part-time but would prefer full-time work; if those people were counted among the unemployed, the unemployment rate in January 2012 would have been about 15 percent.

Well, maybe so, but with all of the stimulus spending (despite our runaway debt), at least the people who ARE working are doing better, …..right?

Ummm, not so much. US poverty levels have now reached all-time highs.  In the year after the stimulus passed, 2.6 million Americans fell into poverty.  Overall, 6.3 million more Americans are living in poverty today than when Obama took office.

Add in the inexplicable veto of the Keystone Pipeline, a busload of failed ‘investments’ in green energy, and the fact that our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) only grew 1.7% last year, or basically half of what it was in 2010….and you have something that is indeed remarkable.

Just not remarkably successful.

A Surfeit of Help

Courtesy of the Washington Post:

OBAMA TO TAKE STEPS TO BOOST OVERSIGHT OF OIL MARKETS

Super.

The article unintentionally encapsulates the hitch with this in only a couple of sentences:

A senior administration official said the president wants to increase the number of “cops on the beat” to stop illegal speculation and market manipulation, though he did not point to any examples of such illegal activity. The official said that oil prices have been rising mainly because of growing global demand and political uncertainty in the Persian Gulf.

So let me make sure that I understand this: the government is going to intervene on our behalf, to stop an illegal practice that we have no evidence is actually occurring, by offering a solution that…..will not address the likely primary cause.

Got it. Thanks, guys.

As we have discussed before, government regulation is often its own worst enemy. It most certainly isn’t a way to make something more efficient, with “government efficiency” being perhaps the best all-time oxymoron. But to make you feel better about them, seemingly every new Rule-&-Reg comes with a feel-good PR campaign, usually along the lines of “this regulation won’t rest while it fights for YOU”. Subsequently, when the regulation achieves hardly any of its stated goals, and instead creates several unintended consequences, what happens? Yep: more regulations to fix the new problems, which the initial regulations elicited.

It’s as if our Government were a morbidly obese yet error-prone chef who always eats his/her mistakes: their solution IS the problem.

Another example: on dailycaller.com, the unintended consequences of the Dodd-Frank law (passed back in 2010) has already had a profound effect on the banking industry, and as you might expect by now, it has not been what you might call ‘positive’.

Quote from the article:

Regulators have written only 185 of the expected 400 rules. But those 185  rules are expected to cost the private sector more than 24 million man-hours  each year to comply.

The tracker has also found that those 185 rules take up more than 5,300  pages.

“For example, let’s just get it down to the community banker — the person  that loans money to most of the small businesses in our country,” Neugebauer  said in a phone interview. “We’ve had a few community bankers come in here and  say, ‘you know, they’re hiring a lot more compliance officer than they are loan  officers.’ That is increasing the cost of banking and, ultimately, they have to  charge higher interest rates and higher fees.”

“The other thing that it impacts for our small businesses is because of some  of the new rules and regulations, there’s a great deal of uncertainty about  certain types of financial activity that some of these entities can engage in,” Neugebauer added. “I think that as these rules come out, what we’re trying to  ascertain, and our committee has had a number of hearings on, is what the  unintended consequences of some of these rules and regulations, but more  importantly, just the sheer volume of them.”

What’s that old line? “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help“?

Maybe they should change their tagline:

Test Of Fire

This has been out for weeks, but hasn’t received nearly the attention which it warrants. Though aimed primarily at Catholics, its importance supersedes any/all religious affiliation.

Turn up your volume, maximize the screen size and please watch.

 

A Dyslogy for *Fairness*

Having always had a healthy respect for the proper use and etymology of words, I get a bit miffed when a perfectly decent word becomes inextricably linked to some current fad, ruining it for the foreseeable future. You know, like “Twilight”.

Or: “Hope”.

Now, a word that we’ve all used since grammar school, a word that meant “freedom from bias or dishonesty”, has now been morphed into something radically different. That word is “fairness”.

And its new definition is “stuff Obama likes”.

Our Wordsmith-in-Chief has been pushing the fairness thing so hard I’m surprised that Wikipedia hasn’t updated their entry. But its usage allows him to continually carp about the Bush tax cuts, and tax breaks for oil companies. It lets him turn a blind eye to religious freedom being destroyed by Obamacare. It’s why his budgets (which keep getting voted down by both parties) spend trillions more than we possess. And it’s why he is now pushing for the so-called Buffett Rule (named in honor of Warren Buffett, for those of you that didn’t know) with such fervor.

In each instance, he’s being “fair”, you see, …and his ever-growing list of targets isn’t:

  • religiously-affiliated companies,
  • the Supreme Court,
  • small businesses,
  • Wall Street,
  • coal companies,
  • David & Charles Koch, 
  • Las Vegas,
  • Rush Limbaugh,
  • Arizona,
  • South Carolina,
  • millionaires,
  • Texas,
  • BP,
  • Congress,
  • people who put gas in their cars,
  • and stay-at-home moms…just to name a very few.

 ***Speaking of the Buffet Rule: if you suspected by now that it won’t make a fig of difference to our debt or deficit, you’d be right.***

President Fairness’ fascination with populist fluff like the Buffett Rule merely keeps us from addressing the Godzilla-sized problem in the room: we spend too much $$$$$. We could take every dime from the wealthiest among us and it wouldn’t even come close to fixing our problem, which was illustrated in Bill Whittle’s classic take-down, Eat The Rich (…it’s really, really good. Bring popcorn…..)

Spending more than you have is not being “fair”; it’s called being a spendthrift. We’re broke and getting broker every day, …and a hundred Buffett Rules won’t fix that. When, and ONLY when, we actually  face-up to our squandering ways will this change. Otherwise, we will have doomed our kids and grand-kids to harder, leaner existences than ones with which we’ve been blessed.

And there’s nothing “fair” about that.

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UPDATE – There is an old analogy which lays out the inherent unfairness of our current tax system, but a better (though much more complex) explanation was written last year by Kip Hagopian, which you can read here.

Take your time: it is not a quick read, but it’s worth it.

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UPDATE #2 – The Buffett Rule was just voted down in the Senate, as expected. It was never truly in doubt, which backs up my main point: Obama just wanted to use this as a talking point for the campaign.

And folks wonder why somanypeople… refer to him as the Campaigner-In-Chief.