Friday, May 28, 2010

Surprise: C&A Doesn't Blame POTUS for Oil Disaster

Gentle Readers: Surprise!

Contrary to what you might think, Circles & Arrows does not think the lengthy ongoing response Deep Horizon Oil Rig disaster is the fault of the POTUS. Don't wait for a pithy punchline, that's it. We don't think the current situation is due much to what he's done -- or not done -- (except maybe Bobby Jindal's permits to build-up barrier islands).

Ironically, though, Obama is feeling the brunt of the ugly stick he and his kind have fashioned lo these past 40 or 50 years. The Left has dumbed-down three consecutive generations into believing there is nothing a government cannot do if given 1) the acquiescence of the population and 2) enough of other people's money. To be sure, Barry has picked-up and carried this banner farther and faster than anyone in his Party (except for maybe LBJ) but he is only the latest in that long line, not the first.

If anything the oil rig disaster off Louisiana's coast shows that no government, or administration, can do EVERYthing. As much as we'd like to think otherwise, "big brother" government is not all powerful; indeed (outside the realm of laws, which are backed up by guns and just as deadly paperwork) it's not all that powerful to begin with compare to the forces of nature. This is especially true when dealing with human encounters with the physical world, such as a Space Shuttle re-entering Earth atmosphere, an uncapped oil well 5,000 feet below the surface or, say, shoddy levies against a category 3 hurricane.

Some time ago, a guy made a mint from writing that "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." That's a truth that people should be taught instead of "there's a government program for that."

The reality is that POTUS cannot go out and run the underwater submersible and cap the raging oil gusher. Nor could George Bush fly helicopters filled with water down to the Super Dome. About all Barry can do in this instance is pick up the phone and tell people -- who he can order or control -- to do something; he has to rely on others to do their part and rely that still others he doesn't directly control will cooperate or at least won't hinder what his troops are doing. He has a few hundred "Brownies" that he's been given (or has selected/appointed) and his reputation is tied to what they are able to do.

The details of the condition are somewhat different from 5 years ago, but the reality is the same. It's NOT Barry's fault now just as it was not W's fault then.

What this whole fiasco DOES illustrate (a fact which nobody really seems to have observed to date) is: this is what happens when things go unscripted. THAT is a true measure of leadership. We'll see how this plays out.

Pres. Obama has done more than enough other stuff to find fault with in 1.5 years, but right now, this isn't one of them.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Feature: The Chuck Todd "Daily Homer"

We're not the first to opine that Chuck Todd, Chief White House correspondent is a "homer" for POTUS.

Starting today, we introduce a new feature, "The Chuck Todd Daily Homer."

It will chronicle the madcap, zany antics of one "F. Chuck Todd" (as the master would put it) as he leads daily contortions and calisthenics on behalf of the White House Press "Corpse" and MSNBC in lap-dogging presidential positives, ignoring pesky negatives, glossing over toughies or otherwise carrying the water for this Administration.

Today's display about the president's "alleged" job offer to Sestak is only the most recent example. Anyone who watched Morning Joe this morning would have thought this fill-in host for Meet the Press was substituting for Press Sec. Robert Gibbs.

First -- Get the people ON the record, Chuck. Regardless of Sestak's job, that's your job.
Second -- Stop being such friends with Axlerod and grow a pair: "Who cares if your telling me what you heard, David, you're on this interview to answer to this question because we can't speak directly to your boss. If you don't know, the next time you talk to the president, ask him. Then come back when you know the answer to that question because I'm not going to stop asking it."
Third -- It’s not up to Chuck to defend "the press corpse" for not covering the story enough (even if he did cover it). Yes, a few outlets have run a story on this, but they stop pursuing when they get Axlerod's tap dance. "The Press" is much larger than him, and he knows it--and they AREN'T covering this story enough.
Fourth -- It's also not Chuck's job to argue FOR the Administration and inject his hypothesis as to what "may" have happened between the Prez and Sestak: "Sestak may have thought he heard a job offer..." What's up with that? And it's not Chuck's job to whip out the obligatory "Dick Cheney Story." Wasn't Obama supposed to be different that the last Admin? Wasn't he supposed to be "the most Transparent" president? You've beat up that horse enough; why not hold this Admin to the Bull$#@* they promised instead?
Fifth -- If anything you, as "WH chief correspondent" and the other WH press corps should use this (among many things) to beat a daily drum to have a live press conference from the Communicator in Chief instead of being his lap dogs. Almost 1 year and no chance to ask him about this scandal, the recent primary election losses, Arizona Immigration Law, union pension bailouts, the Euro troubles, Greece/Portugal crisis, Gulf Oil Spill, his Supreme nominee, the still open Club Gitmo, the Koreas, KSM trial, etc. Would you really have sat idly by and allowed Bush to go this long w/o a presser with all this stuff going on?
Lastly -- You never did answer Joe's statement that were this the Bush Admin, newspapers, politicians and pundits would be shouting from the rooftops, Chuck.

But--What a way to kick-off this Feature!

USA Today Takes 2 Weeks to Put 2 and 2 Together

A few weeks ago, after the surging performance of the Tea Parties in primary elections across the country, the vaunted USAToday business pagerather smugly chastised we who apparently don't like to be overtaxed with this little back-hand rebuff:
"Amid complaints about high taxes and calls for
a smaller government, Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman's presidency, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data found."
---Dennis Cauchon, USA Today, May 10, 2010
Well, aren't we red-faced for our wrong-headed, self-centered fixation about our citizen obligation to the US Treasury! We should be GLAD we're only paying what we are; in fact, there's obviously more room to grow taxes and we'll still be better off. Good thing USAT pointed that out for us, we might actually have voted for one of those Tea-Partiers under this false pretense.

Oh, except this little ditty two weeks later (by the same author), "PRIVATE PAY SHRINKS TO HISTORIC LOWS."

"Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds." -- Dennis Cauchon, USA Today, May 25, 2010.

Although we'll give Mr. Cauchon and the paper props for actually running the second story, but ... duh ... why run the first article? Can you say, "No $@!&, Sherlock." But it gets better.

Can you guess which sector grew during this time? Yep, you guessed it:

"At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010."

Still later in the article, comes another couple of quotes from a new "Mr. Obvious" economic expert from the Maize and Blue in Ann Arbor.

"The trend is not sustainable, says University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes. Reason: The federal government depends on private wages to generate income taxes to pay for its ever-more-expensive programs. Government-generated income is taxed at lower
rates or not at all, he says. "This is really important," Grimes says."
This revelation is only eclipsed by the entirely predictable and complete asinine comment from a mouthpiece economist from the Lefty, "Center on Budget and Policy Priorities":

"It's the system working as it should," Paul Van de Water says. Government is stimulating growth and helping people in need, he says. As the economy recovers, private wages will rebound, he says.
And the skies will clear, the flowers bloom, the birds will sing, no more "ring around the collar," pounds and inches will melt away in just 7 days, and the lion will lay down with the lamb.

Mr. Van de Water is right about one thing, "the system is working" as the Administration expected it would.

Kinda gives the whole, "I hope he fails" remark (that someone made) new meaning, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MSM Whistling Past the Tea Party Graveyard

Yeah, that's it Katie, Keith, Wash Post, etc. The success of anti-incumbents and Tea Party candidates is "trouble" for the GOP.

Can you just hear the jubilation in the White House and at the DNC after Tuesday's primary election results?

(At least Matthews got it right about Specter's race)

Will the MSM stop at nothing to carry the water for the Dems?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Tale of Two Protests

I'm all for peoples' freedom to protest, exercise their first amendment rights.

But some observations from this news story compared to coverage of, say, recent Tea Party events or last summer's Health Care "town hall meetings" are vivid examples of mainstream media's double standard.

Protests of Massey Energy's annual stockholders meeting in Richmond, Va., from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Here, the deaths of 11 formerly hard-working but poor, non-unionized, and recently deceased Appalachian miners are being exploited to protest the rich, greedy, shameless capitalist investors and uncaring, ruthless, regulation-dodging businessMEN.

1) No mention of racial make-up of participants or the percentage of minorities participating. No questions to identified minorities as to whether they felt lonely, no curiosity about what they had against the company (as if it would be somehow different from others), and no indicated surprise about them being there.

2) Funding source. Story mentions persons were "bussed" from several states. No mention of who paid for the buses or the motivation to bring the protesters to the meeting.

3) Emotional state. No real examination of motive, and no depiction of their emotional state--were they "angry," (reserved for right-wingers) or just "concerned"? "Outraged" is reserved for describing left-leaning causes.

4) Goals. What did the protesters hope to achieve? We assume it's to ask company not to put profits over people, but what does that mean exactly and what sort of specific outcome do they seek? Do they want to see specific safety measures instituted or will just allowing the union into more mines be OK as an outcome?

5) Goals II. The article belatedly does mention that at least a portion of the protester were calling on the ouster of the Massey's CEO, Don Blankenship (and three board members). However the article doesn't examine if they "hated" Mr. Blankenship personally, whether they considered their protestations as a form of "hate" or if they just disagreed with his policies and performance? Also not known is whether Blankenship's race had anything to do with why the protesters were there.

6) Packing? No mentions of persons carrying weapons AND no mention that the reporter scanned the crowd specifically looking for visible weapons.

7) Artistic expression. No mention of signage carried by protesters (other than banner) or various "keywords" (or insignia) that appeared on the signs. Does that mean that there were none or that certain words did appear on signs but we just not mentioned in the story?

8) Who Dat? Protesters identified as "union members," "miners" and "environmentalists" but no indication whether they are true volunteers -- i.e. participating at their own expense -- or expenses being reimbursed by outside interests (such as the Unions, political parties, or environmental groups, and which ones.) Furthermore, there's no mention as to whether the protesters were actually being compensated (paid) to be there. Therefore no "take" or editorializing as to whether such monetary support changed the legitimacy of the protest.

9) Media incited. No indication that the group had been listening or watching a particular media outlet, say MSNBC or Real Time with Bill Maher, or Daily Show.

10) Party/Party. No mention of how the majority of the protesters voted or which party they were affiliated with. Again, we don't know if that question was asked by the reporters, only that it did not make the print edition.

11) Fearless leader. No clear idea of who or what organized the protest. Article uses the term "protest organizers" but not whether they were spontaneous group, organized for this event only, or part of an on-going group or organization. The article eventually mentions "CtW Investment Group, a money adviser affiliated with organized labor" who initiated a campaign against Massey, but does that mean CtW was behind the protest?

12) Arrests. Mentions the arrest of two 20-somethings (one from New York the other "of the Washington area" -- two areas well known as hot spots of coal mining activity.) Well, at least they did report of the police action.

13) Rally description. The newspaper uses the term "raucous" -- does that mean gregarious, light-hearted frat boy raucous ("boisterously disorderly"), OR mean-spirited, angry, emotionally inflammatory raucousness ("disagreeably harsh or strident")?

14) Feelings, whoa, whoa, whoa. No mention of how the presence of the protesters made the stock-holders feel (threatened? amused? welcomed?) No mention of the term "intimidation" affecting the meeting attendees or whether the unfurling of the banner would have been "disruptive" to the business being conducted inside the meeting room.

[Editor's Note: We have to give the RTD credit when credit is due. The paper did post a very good editorial not long ago comparing the Tea Parties and the Arizona Illegal Immigration law protests. Good for them on the Editorial Page. ]

Now, to work on the news side of the fence.