Unexpectedly! Or as they say around the Politico’s water cooler, “Badass.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Released Gitmo Detainee Now an Al Qaeda Leader in Yemen.
UNEXPECTEDLY! CBO projects 2 million fewer jobs under ObamaCare. Remember, if you predicted this back when the bill was under debate, media “fact checkers” would ask the White House if that was going to happen, then give you four Pinocchios when the White House said no. And then call you racist.
All it would have taken to keep this from happening was for the people who were in power to take these issues seriously all along.
BLOOMBERG BUSINESS: Wal-Mart Sues Puerto Rico Over ‘Astonishing’ Tax Increases.
I started to ask, “is ‘astonishing’ the new “unexpectedly?”, and then realized the story was in Bloomberg Business, where bad economic news has been invariably appearing “unexpectedly” since oh, about January of 2009.
UNEXPECTEDLY: “Officials say San Bernardino shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS during attack,” Ed Morrissey writes, adding:
“Having a good amount of ammo doesn’t mean you’re planning an attack.” Interestingly, I discussed this with another attendee at the Bullets & Bourbon event I’m at this weekend, and we agree. It’s not uncommon to have a significant number of rounds in hand in order to have enough to train at a range on short notice. One person noted that he has a few thousand rounds in his house at the moment, and he’s certainly not planning an attack. However, I’m pretty sure the number of pipe bombs in his house is, oh … zero. That’s not the case with Farook and Malik, as the Washington Post noted prior to the revelation this morning about the pledge to ISIS:
Read the whole thing.
HEY, REMEMBER WHEN BILL CLINTON CLAIMED “WE’RE EISENHOWER REPUBLICANS HERE?” New Email: Podesta Rips Axelrod For ‘Totally Caving in to Right Wing Economics.’
If only that was true — both Obama and the nation would be doing better.
Speaking of which, Citibank warns of US recession next year:
As the U.S. economy enters its seventh year of expansion following the 2008-09 crisis, the probability of recession will reach 65 percent, Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. A rapid flattening of the bond yield curve towards inversion would be an key warning sign.
“The cumulative probability of U.S. recession reaches 65 percent next year,” Citi’s rates strategists wrote in their 2016 outlook published late on Tuesday. “Curve inversion will likely come more quickly than the consensus thinks.”
Unexpectedly, in other words. But have the last six years felt like a real economic recovery — “Morning in America,” to a coin a phrase — to you?
They’re probably still bitter that their efforts to draft John Cougar Mellencamp for the Senate never caught fire.
AP BLOCKED REPORT THAT PALESTINIANS REJECTED ISRAELI STATEHOOD OFFER. In 2009, “a long-time Jerusalem reporter learned of an Israeli offer that would give a majority of the West Bank and all of Gaza—including a corridor between them—to the Palestinians. But his scoop was blocked,” as former AP man Mark Lavie writes in his article at Tablet:
In March 2009, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was interviewed in Arabic on Al-Jazeera. When I saw the MEMRI translation I immediately understood its significance: Erekat disclosed that Abbas had turned down an offer that would have given the Palestinians a state in almost all of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and parts of Jerusalem. Then I found out about the map. No one else had the story.
Excited about this scoop, I raced into my bureau chief’s office at the AP in Jerusalem. Imagine my shock when I was told it’s not a story—and I was banned from writing about it. It just couldn’t be a legitimate story, in line with the new definition of journalism.
The profession I joined in the 1960s wasn’t about helping anyone. It was about reporting and explaining the news. This new definition of journalism, apparently requires choosing sides. This became clear to me as long ago as 1988, at the beginning of the First Intifada, when I saw a reporter jump out of her car in the middle of a Gaza riot and shout at the Palestinians throwing rocks at the vehicle: “Why are you doing this? I’m trying to help you!” Like most Western media sources, she wanted to frame the uprising—the Palestinians as people—as helpless victims, to pillory the Israelis as the cruel oppressors. Stories that didn’t fit that framework had a hard time seeing the light of day. Even a peace offer.
So, naturally, despite the fact that Israel offered the Palestinians a state twice—in 2000 and 2008—the world saw Israel as the intransigent side. The 2008 proposal was largely unreported in world media.
WITH ALL EYES ON ISIS, IRAN ‘DRILLS’ ISRAEL’S DESTRUCTION.
Don’t worry, I’m sure they don’t mean it — and “unexpectedly,” neither does AP.
DEAR LIBERALS, STOP DEFENDING RACIST PROGRESSIVE WOODROW WILSON: “Surprisingly, the 28th president still has his defenders on the left,” Damon Root writes at Reason, although much like the MSM’s constant stream of “unexpectedly” bad economic news post-January of 2009, I’m not sure what’s “surprising” about Wilson’s sclerotic “Progressive” defenders:
Not everyone is quite so eager to see Wilson knocked off his pedestal, however. Writing at Politico Magazine this week, left-wing New York University professor Jonathan Zimmerman attempted to defend the beleaguered 28th president by reminding the ungrateful student activists about Wilson’s pioneering progressive agenda. Sure, Wilson may have been a racist, Zimmerman admitted, but “the Progressive doctrines espoused by Wilson” ushered in a new era of activist government that was ultimately “reflected” and enshrined in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Wilson was a founding father of modern liberalism, Zimmerman insisted, and therefore “deserves a good deal of credit” for improving the lives of “America’s poor and dispossessed, including minorities.”
I never cease to be amazed when I encounter this sort of liberal apologia for Woodrow Wilson. This is the same Woodrow Wilson, after all, who imposed Jim Crow on the federal government, praised segregation, glorified the Ku Klux Klan, spied on innocent Americans, censored the mail, trashed the Bill of Rights, and imprisoned multiple critics for the “crimes” of giving speeches, writing editorials, and distributing pamphlets. As H.L. Mencken once remarked about the ugly record of another unlikely liberal hero, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., “If this is Liberalism, then all I can say is that Liberalism is not what it was when I was young.”
Well, it’s not — Mencken wrote that sentence around 1930; as Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class, in order to put a fresh PR spin on their ideology after the horrors of the Wilson administration, the self-described “Progressives” of the 20th century’s early years began to call themselves “liberals” instead during the previous decade — a huge stolen base, considering that there’s a vast difference between the traditional laissez-faire meaning of classical liberalism and the racism, eugenics, and “moral equivalent of war” obsessions of “Progressivism.”
Apparently Hillary thought all of that baggage was forgotten by 2007, when she decided that due to the L-word’s own accumulated history from 1933 to the present, she rebranded herself as “a proud modern American progressive, and I think that’s the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics.”
Mission accomplished, and then some, Hillary — a racist like Woodrow Wilson would be astonished that a black man was president, but he’d find much to admire in Mr. Obama’s own racialism, corporatism, foreign policy utopianism, and the chaos and riots that he’s sewn since 2009.
UNEXPECTEDLY: LePen Leads First Presidential Poll After Paris Killings. And note this:
Europe’s far-Right will gain a lot of strength after the Paris attacks—and for that, you can largely blame the centrists.
Not surprisingly, figures like Marine Le Pen are making hay. Just after the attacks, Le Pen called for the “immediate halt” of the admission of refugees. Hungarian President Viktor Orban crowed that he was right all along. But in doing this, the far-Right is essentially doing what it’s always done. And what gives it oxygen is also the same thing as ever: The centrists declare any discussion of immigration (other than “it’s wonderful!”) off-limits, and so drive concerned voters to where they otherwise would not go.
Even in the wake of Paris, Euro-centrists couldn’t seem to stop preening, impugning their own citizenry, and generally insisting that all must go on as before. Less than a day after the attacks, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker declared that, “there is no need for an overall review of the European policy on refugees.” And while President Hollande has taken an admirably tough line on foreign policy and European matters, on November 18 he declared that France would increase its refugee intake over the next two years, to 30,000, in a speech whose upshot was that “France should remain as it is. Our duty is to carry on our lives.” Everything can go on the same as before, at the very least.
There may be both strategic and humanitarian arguments in favor of continuing to admit refugees, but the rhetorical tone on display from several of Europe’s highest-profile centrists, before and after the attacks, has seemed almost designed to alienate concerned citizens.
Hope is not a plan, and virtue-signalling is not a policy. American political elites have enabled the rise of Trump in much the same fashion.
SWEET HOME, CHICAGO:
…And here we go:
—Allahpundit, at Hot Air.
—Steve Bartin, Newsalert. (And a reminder to a suddenly and “unexpectedly” incurious MSM: “This ‘Mayor of Chicago’ who suppressed Laquan McDonald tape was Obama’s WH Chief of Staff, Chairman of House Dem Caucus, & Chairman of DCCC.”
—Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit.
—Ace of Spades.
And finally, good advice from John Nolte, as the media gets ready to whip up a hot fresh riot in time for Thanksgiving (and in honor of the one year anniversary of last year’s holiday season riots): “Praying for my many family members in Chicago. Told them if they see any CNN trucks, they need to run.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Clock Kid Ahmed Mohamed Wants $15 Million in Damages.
Iowahawk suggests that the city of Irving, Texas “Pay him in 50% off Radio Shack coupons.”
Most importantly for Colbert, he’s found a niche in offering what the Jimmys can’t really offer (particularly Fallon): consistent political satire and more substantive interviews with big political guests (his interview with Joe Biden as the vice president openly displayed his inner conflict on running for for president was widely-praised in this space and pretty much everywhere else). But therein lies the rub: most sit-downs with politicians don’t exactly result in riveting television (outliers like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to a lesser extent notwithstanding). And Colbert has shown almost no willingness to hit both sides of the aisle even close to equally… it’s simply not in his DNA.
Consequently, according to a Hollywood Reporter poll just released, Colbert has successfully alienated self-described Republicans who see what’s being offered on a nightly basis and exploring or staying with other options. And with the country as polarized as it is, the host is thereby saying goodbye to half his potential audience, which can’t be a sound business model.
Per The Hollywood Reporter‘s survey of 1000 late-night viewers aged 18-65, only 17 percent of those identified themselves as Republican watch Colbert, while attracting 47 percent of those who identify as Democrats, a 30-point gap. But more liberals watch late-night TV than stuffy, old conservatives, right? Guess again. In Kimmel’s case, the split is 34 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans. In Fallon’s case, it’s 36-31 Democrats.
Why so even-keeled? Because Kimmel and Fallon go through great lengths to be apolitical. To equally mock or simply find other props and topics to use for comedy outside of political humor and (oftentimes in Colbert’s case) commentary on how stupid/awful/inept Republicans are. It’s a smart approach if the goal is to reach as broad as audience as possible, something Colbert never cared to achieve going back to his Comedy Central days and The Colbert Report. In character, out of character… Colbert is Colbert. And that’s fine on Comedy Central, even downright expected. But network TV? Not so much…
The ratings result of said approach is now beginning to come to fruition as the bloom comes off the rose ten weeks since his debut.
Who could have seen this coming? Err, lots of people — including me. As I wrote a year and half ago when Colbert was first announced as Letterman’s successor, CBS forgot the lessons of the 1996 HBO movie The Late Shift, based on the best-selling book by the New York Times’ Bill Carter on how NBC forced Johnny Carson’s hand and pushed the increasingly isolated and emotionally brittle king of late night TV into retirement, and chose Jay Leno, rather than Carson’s hand-picked successor David Letterman to replace him:
What particularly makes The Late Shift such an interesting film is that when it was originally shot, it looked like CBS got the better of the deal, with Letterman dominating the ratings. As it turns out, according to the Internet Database:
Subsequent airings after the initial release have added an additional epilogue on how the Hugh Grant interview boosted Jay Leno’s ratings past David Letterman’s.
Thus Littlefield and Agoglia [the NBC executives who chose cheerful lovable Jay Leno over the cranky neurotic David Letterman to replace Carson], despite being portrayed as Machiavellian manipulators on massive scale, end up looking like rather smart guys, in spite of themselves.
* * * * * * * *
Letterman’s retirement would be the perfect time for CBS to find a host to replace who connects with Middle America, the massive audience that Letterman and CBS’s late night division chose to abandon. Instead, by going with Colbert, CBS chose to continue to alienate this large group of viewers. Or worse, “CBS Declares War on Heartland of America,” as Rush Limbaugh said yesterday. “Why would CBS hire such a divisive host who is already failing in Late Night?”, John Nolte pondered yesterday. “All about the left holding on to the culture.”
As I wrote last year, “The early-1990s CBS executives portrayed in The Late Shift left the former ‘Tiffany’ network shortly after hiring Letterman. Too bad their successors seemed determined to live out their predecessor’s mistakes, in a seemingly unending ideological loop.”
WHAT COULD GO WRONG? “Obama administration counter-terrorism officials have trained domestic Homeland Security law enforcement officers to focus on the behavior of people entering the United States, rather than their political, ideological or religious background,” Kerry Picket writes at the Daily Caller:
“‘Are you a member of the Muslim Brotherhood? What school of Islamic law do you follow? Where do you go to mosque? Do you believe someone who insults Islam deserves to be killed? Would you like to make America an Islamic country?’ All of these questions — the most important ones — are off-limits,” Reaboi said.
UNEXPECTEDLY: “The three candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination had different ideas at Saturday night’s Iowa debate about what to call terrorists — but they wanted to leave ‘Islamist’ out of any descriptor.”
But as his time as a CBS correspondent, anchor of Face the Nation and writer for Slate and Time magazine Dickerson has advised Barack Obama to “destroy the GOP,” told Hillary Clinton she was “transparent” on the e-mail scandal, and urged the ultra-liberal Elizabeth Warren to join the 2016 race.
On the other hand, he chided the Benghazi committee for “fighting like cats and dogs” and called CNBC editor Rick Santelli’s rallying cry that inspired the Tea Party movement “clownish.”
Nope, no bias there.
UNEXPECTEDLY! TERRORIST LEADER CAUGHT HIDING AMONG ‘MIGRANTS’ — “Angela Merkel is probably the only person in Europe who didn’t know this would happen.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! New Yorkers Face Hard Decisions After Collapse of Health Republic Insurance. “If anyone could manage to obtain treatment under the Affordable Care Act, it should have been Liz Jackson. With a severe nerve condition that forced her out of a job, Ms. Jackson did not just qualify for a government-subsidized plan, but she also knew her way around the new system, having been trained as a volunteer ‘health care navigator’ to help others sign up. Yet the collapse of her insurer, Health Republic Insurance of New York — the largest of 12 health care co-ops nationwide set to close this year — has left her and more than 200,000 others in a panic over medical coverage after their plan ceases on Nov. 30.”
Plus: “’I’m an advocate for the health care law,’ said Ms. Jackson, who lives in Harlem. ‘And if I can’t navigate this, who can?’”
It’s as if the whole ObamaCare thing was just a politicized Potemkin village.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Cost Of Cheapest ObamaCare Plans Is Soaring.
Contrary to expectations, the mandate really doesn’t seem to be doing much to get people to buy insurance, at least yet (the penalty is set to go up again this year, and that may get people to pay attention). The subsidies, on the other hand, clearly have a large effect, which is why the customer base for the exchanges is so disproportionately composed of folks who are getting large amounts of taxpayer assistance to buy insurance. Anything that increases the gap between the cost of the insurance and the subsidy they are getting is therefore worrisome, if you want the exchanges to get and stay healthy.
It is possible to find out what different rates are being charged by insurers in many states; I have a giant spreadsheet of the 2016 rate increases for those states that make them available, and boy does that make me popular at cocktail parties. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what rate increases people are facing, because we don’t know what individuals had in 2015, or what they’ll buy in 2016.
This is frustrating. But a consulting company, Avalere Health, has provided at least slightly more data than we had before, supplementing the administration’s release of the information on benchmark plans by looking at the cost of the cheapest Bronze and Silver policies. It’s still far more limited than one would like, but looking at those rates does give us additional information.
The biggest thing they tell us is that, as I suspected when I wrote about the CMS release, the whole bottom of the market is undergoing a fairly massive repricing. In most states, the cost of the cheapest Silver plan, relative to the cheapest one last year, rose even more than the benchmark rate. And in most states, the cost of the cheapest Bronze plan went up by more than the cost of the cheapest Silver plan.
Good news! You’re now required to buy health insurance that you can’t afford! Also, the deductibles are huge. . . .
TRUTH REVEALED ABOUT ‘RAZOR BLADE’ FOUND IN LITTLE GIRL’S HERSHEY BAR:
It appears as though the little girl was not the only one to make a false report about dangerous objects in their candy bars.
In the greater Pennsylvania and New Jersey area, numerous reports were made to police, stating that sewing needles were found lodged inside Halloween candy:
t turns out that Robert Ledrew of Blackwood, who made the initial report, had fabricated the story as well, reports CBS3.
Ledrew, who posted needle-filled candy bars to his Facebook, claimed he was trying to teach his children a lesson to be careful with their candy. He was later arrested and charged with making a false police report.
MILLENIALS EVEN SEE TRANSPORTATION DIFFERENTLY, Nicole Gelinas writes at the New York Post:
It’s all wonderful, then, that people are changing their behavior — except for the fact that the country needs for people to keep driving ever more miles so that it can fund its highway and transit infrastructure. Remember: Just as not everyone needed to default on his mortgage to cause a housing bust, not everyone needs to take the bus instead of a car to cause a roads bust.
To wit: Without money from gas taxes pouring into federal highway coffers, taxpayers have had to bail out the nation’s highway fund for the past half-decade. I-95 from Florida to Maine needs at least $8 billion in bridge repairs — and we don’t have the money to make them.
Transit infrastructure is falling apart, too, even as people increasingly crowd trains and buses.
It’s tempting to want to keep bailing out the highways, just as we bailed out our housing market seven years ago.
It’s also foolish. Just as the 2008 housing crash was a necessary market signal that our way of life — bigger houses and bigger cars, all paid by bigger debt — was unaffordable, the traffic crash is a necessary market signal, too.
More people want to spend their lives working or with their families, not sitting on their butts behind a steering wheel.
Need another market signal?
You can buy a big house anywhere in the country, dirt cheap — as long as it’s nowhere near an efficient mass-transit system.
It’s also an opportunity for pols to say that we need a new way of funding our infrastructure. Sure, we should raise the gas tax — to what it would be if it kept up with inflation.*
Over time, though, charging people by the amount of gas they use or even the amount of miles they travel may be a losing game, as people travel less. Nearby real-estate owners who benefit from keeping up a highway may have to kick in.
In August, the London Independent claimed “Millennials are no longer going to night clubs,” with a take that presumably is applicable to American Millenials as well, given that on both sides of the pond, “once costly high-end audio equipment can be easily and inexpensively sourced online, meaning that the house party represents a better value option, as indeed do the entertainment offerings from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or games companies.”
And as we noted back then, at least in America, that house party is likely to be in mom and dad’s basement. “More young adults are living at home than five years ago, despite the economic recovery, according to a new report by Pew Research Center that crunched U.S. Census bureau data from 2010 to 2015,” Forbes reported.
So they’re not going out to night clubs, they’re not driving, and they’re staying home watching TV. Congratulations, Millenials – you’re already leading the sedentary lifestyle my parents led in their 70s and 80s; have we got an exciting, wild and crazy candidate whose boundless sense of fun matches yours!
* It’s always time for Democrats and the MSM (but I repeat myself) to call for new gasoline taxes.
UNEXPECTEDLY! “It’s like every Canadian just got a pay cut” as dollar plunges after Trudeau’s win. Hey, it’s only a few percent!
UNEXPECTEDLY: Obama Justice Dept.: No criminal charges for ex-IRS official. “The department also announced that Lois Lerner, who headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status at the time, would not face any charges.”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Dan Rather and Robert Redford’s paradoxically-named “Truth” bombs at the box office:
The movie — starring Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchett as his longtime producer Mary Mapes — has grossed a paltry $66,000 in limited release. But its prospects are dim as it goes nationwide on Oct. 30, because “Truth” will have to compete with “Suffragette,” “Burnt” and a few other new features.
However, “Truth’s” real damage will be when it’s available for essentially zero-cost streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and in endless repeats in the bowels of cable TV, where it will pollute the historical record in much the same way as Oliver Stone’s JFK, 20 years ago.
SURE, AND NEXT YOU’RE GOING TO TELL ME THAT THERE’S GAMBLING GOING ON IN RICK’S CAFE, TO BOOT: The American boy arrested for making a clock meets Sudan’s president, an accused war criminal:
Bashir is no ordinary world leader. He has an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, for example, for allegedly orchestrating genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The country he leads is under a variety of U.S. sanctions. His government harbored Osama bin Laden for five years in the 1990s. A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks even suggested he may have secretly stolen $9 billion in oil money.
I’m shocked — shocked! — by this oh, so “unexpectedly” occurring development, aren’t you?
UNEXPECTEDLY! Russia’s Military Prowess Surprises Western Analysts.
Russian air and missile strikes in Syria over the past two weeks have surprised military analysts, who did not appreciate Russia’s sophisticated capabilities. . . .
The capabilities on display in Syria are surely sending shudders up Eastern European spines, but Washington should worry too. Although the United States remains a far more powerful military power than Russia, the speed with which Russia has managed to significantly upgrade its military equipment indicates the perils of resting on one’s laurels in an age full of rapidly-developing high technology. Armchair analysts who pooh-poohed the Pentagon budget cuts created by sequestration ought to revisit their arguments.
A greater worry: if Russia is startling us with its military might, how much might we be underestimating China?
Remember, the Administration wants to underestimate their strength, because a correct estimate would require them to do things, and make spending changes, that they find unpalatable.
UNEXPECTEDLY: Another Anti-Gay Hate Crime Turns Out to Be a Giant Hoax.
THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: Unexpectedly, The Middle East Meltdown Continues. “Some of President Obama’s critics accuse him of lacking a strategy for the Middle East. This is far from the truth. From where the President sits, the Administration has a Middle East strategy, and it is just given him a huge success.” Well, you know, it all depends on what your goals are.
CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE — THEN SEND THAT CHECK TO THE IRS!
A political humorist named Mark Dice took a camera to the streets of San Diego and decided to interview Hillary Clinton supporters, acting as if he was one of them.
He told them that Clinton planned on instituting a “white privilege” tax.
In other words, she planned on taking money from each and every Caucasian and distributing it among the other races.
Guess what? They not only bought it, they agreed with it.
UNEXPECTEDLY: How Dodd-Frank explains our weak recovery.
“INADVERTENTLY” IS THE NEW “UNEXPECTEDLY!” The Immigration Act That Inadvertently Changed America: Fifty years after its passage, it’s clear that the law’s ultimate effects are at odds with its original intent. “Seven out of every eight immigrants in 1960 were from Europe; by 2010, nine out of ten were coming from other parts of the world. The 1965 Immigration Act was largely responsible for that shift. No law passed in the 20th century altered the country’s demographic character quite so thoroughly.”
In academia, we say that personnel is policy. Does that hold for nations, too?
UNEXPECTEDLY: Vermont — The Land of Bernie — Is Seeing a Mass Exodus of College Aged Students Because There Are No Jobs.
But there are plenty of ways to kill the pain: “Heroin epidemic hits Vermont community hard,” CBS reported last month.
David Brooks, call your office — it just might be time to update that “Latte Town” thesis.
FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: “Today it is my sad duty to report to you the death of the Pax Americana. This isn’t shocking news, as though the Pax had died unexpectedly in a car accident. No, this has been a long and lingering death — but the end now has come,” Steve Green writes — and I think I need to borrow a cup or 20 of Steve’s vodka after reading it; the photo accompanying the article says it all.
Still though — look on the bright side: Mr. Obama assured us that we would have “peace in our time” during his second term’s inauguration speech. With a keen knowledge of modern history like that, what’s the worst that could happen?
UNEXPECTEDLY! US sees ‘surprising’ spike in border crossings.
The United States saw a spike last month in the number of unaccompanied minors and families illegally crossing the southern border, the White House said Monday.
“We have seen, just in the last month, in the month of August, a surprising uptick,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
Earnest did not provide exact an exact number but said it was “far below” last year’s peak level, which initially overwhelmed U.S. government resources.
The spokesman said the increase was unusual because the number of unaccompanied minors who cross the border usually falls in August due to extreme heat.
“That is something that is concerning,” Earnest said.
The increase in crossings could raise fears about a repeat of last year, when the U.S. faced a border crisis spurred by people from Central America fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries.
At the crisis’s peak, as many as 10,000 children per month, and 16,000 adults with children, came to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to CNN, which first reported the news about the August figures.
Earnest said administration officials would brief members of Congress on the latest details. And he said the U.S. is redoubling its effort to warn people in Central America about the dangers of the journey.
Call me crazy, but I don’t think they really mind all that much. Now if these illegal aliens were likely to vote Republican. . . .
UNEXPECTEDLY! Cascading Border Closures Rock Europe.
Europe is experiencing a series of cascading border closures, rippling outward like circuit breakers tripping during a power surge. A week ago, Denmark suspended its rail link to Germany. On Monday, Germany closed its border with Austria. Austria, Slovakia, and the Netherlands all clamped “temporary” border restrictions into place.
On Tuesday, Hungary sealed its border with Serbia; yesterday, Hungarian border guards used water cannons, tear gas, and truncheons to beat back a sea of migrants. This in turn forced more than 5,000 people to seek an alternate path through Croatia north to Slovenia and Germany. Croatian authorities indicated that while they want to help, Croatia’s capacity for handling migrant flows was limited to the thousands, not to the tens of thousands. And then Slovenian authorities today announced that they would reinforce their border with Croatia, potentially creating another dead end for the thousands of migrants massing in the Balkans.
This was inevitable when Brussels and Berlin signaled a determination to treat the immigration problem—which is a hybrid refugee crisis and migrant moment—in purely humanitarian terms. Those languishing in the south of Europe or even in refugee camps in Turkey heard the official declarations as an open-ended invitation to the generous, prosperous, new Germany; they rushed northward and overloaded the system.
European leaders had no practical plans to deal with the wave of migrants they were encouraging. While some of the border shutdowns—such as Hungary’s—were triggered by ideology, many are a matter of logistics. Germany, it turns out, has absolutely no legal immigration mechanism. It hasn’t enforced a land border since 1995. Is it any wonder it wasn’t able to process the inflow into Bavaria, despite the government’s best intentions? Now, border controls are now rippling from the desirable destinations in Europe (Germany and Scandinavia) outward to its more remote borders.
The Gods of The Copybook Headings smile and nod.
NOBEL PANEL SAW OBAMA PEACE PRIZE AS ‘MISTAKE,’ NEW BOOK CLAIMS. “The former director of Norway’s Nobel Institute revealed this week that he regrets the committee’s decision to give the 2009 Nobel Peace award to President Obama:”
Geil Lundestad, director at the institute for 25 years, said in his just-published memoir that he and the committee had unanimously decided to grant the award to Mr. Obama just after his election in 2009 more in hopes of aiding the American president to achieve his goals on nuclear disarmament, rather than in recognition of what Mr. Obama had already accomplished.
Looking back over Mr. Obama’s presidency, Mr. Lundestad said, granting him the award did not fulfill the committee’s expectations.
“[We] thought it would strengthen Obama and it didn’t have this effect,” he wrote.
The elites guffawing the loudest over this year’s Trumpmania have the most to be embarrassed about in 2008 and early 2009.
HOW OBAMA HAS FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED POLITICS: Michael Barone writes, “In this presidential cycle voters in both parties, to the surprise of the punditocracy*, are rejecting experienced political leaders:”
They’re willfully suspending disbelief in challengers who would have been considered laughable in earlier years.
Polls show more Republicans favoring three candidates who have never held elective office than 14 candidates who have served a total of 150 years as governors or in Congress. Most Democrats are declining to favor a candidate who spent eight years each in the White House and the Senate and four as secretary of state.
Psephologists of varying stripes attribute this discontent to varying causes. Conservatives blame insufficiently aggressive Republican congressional leaders. Liberals blame Hillary Clinton’s closeness to plutocrats and her home-brew email system.
But in our system a widespread rejection of experienced leaders ultimately comes from dismay at the leader in the White House. In 1960 Richard Nixon, after eight years as vice-president and six in Congress, campaigned on the slogan, “Experience counts.” No one is running on that theme this year.
Well, America abandoned the notion that “experience counts” as a presidential resume enhancer in 2008. As CNN admitted in late November of 2008 after it was too late to make a difference, “The Americans who are comparing [Obama] to those remarkable predecessors [Lincoln, FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton were name-dropped in the article] are putting a lot of faith in a man they barely know.” Why would voters start caring about that sort of minutia now?
(Via Betsy Newmark.)
UNEXPECTEDLY! The economy never seems to be as good as the Fed thinks it will be. That’s some bad luck, right there.
UNEXPECTEDLY! A Hunting Ban Saps a Village’s Livelihood.
Lions have been coming out of the surrounding bush, prowling around homes and a small health clinic, to snatch goats and donkeys from the heart of this village on the edge of one of Africa’s great inland deltas. Elephants, too, are becoming frequent, unwelcome visitors, gobbling up the beans, maize and watermelons that took farmers months to grow.
Since Botswana banned trophy hunting two years ago, remote communities like Sankuyo have been at the mercy of growing numbers of wild animals that are hurting livelihoods and driving terrified villagers into their homes at dusk.
The hunting ban has also meant a precipitous drop in income. Over the years, villagers had used money from trophy hunters, mostly Americans, to install toilets and water pipes, build houses for the poorest, and give scholarships to the young and pensions to the old.
Calls to curb trophy hunting across Africa have risen since a lion in Zimbabwe, named Cecil by researchers tracking it, was killed in July by an American dentist. . . .
“We had a lot of complaints from local communities,” Ms. Kapata said. “In Africa, a human being is more important than an animal. I don’t know about the Western world,” she added, echoing a complaint in affected parts of Africa that the West seemed more concerned with the welfare of a lion in Zimbabwe than of Africans themselves.
This is what happens when you let your policy be driven by “social justice” virtue-signalling, instead of, you know, reason and consideration actual human needs.
I’M SURE IT’S JUST A COINCIDENCE:
Curious how the goals of radical Islam and the radical left always seem to “unexpectedly” connect, isn’t it?
UNEXPECTEDLY: This Deal (Still) Keeps Getting Worse All the Time.
TO BE FAIR, THAT’S ALWAYS THE LEFT’S PREFERRED APPROACH TO UNDESIRABLES: Guardian Columnist Julie Bindel Says Put All Males ‘In Some Kind of Camp.’
RELATED: Guardian columnist proclaims “Wasps may have stung me in the testicles – but I love them anyway.” Unexpectedly.
UNEXPECTEDLY:Thousands of cancer patients to be denied treatment. Common drugs for breast, bowel, prostate, pancreatic and blood cancer will no longer be funded by the NHS following sweeping cutbacks. … BUT Great Britain had a pony and our progressives wanted one too. So they assured everyone that everything over there was running beautifully.
IS IT 1968 AGAIN? CRIME RISING “UNEXPECTEDLY:” How bad is it? So bad that as Steve Hayward writes at Power Line, even the New York Times has noticed – and of course, the Times passage that Steve quotes listing the cities of Baltimore, New Orleans, Washington DC and St. Louis is a classic “Name that Party” moment.
I was about to make a cheap Fox Butterfield joke goofing on his series of unintentionally hilarious late-1990s Times headlines culminating in “Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction” from 2000, but it’s worth noting that Hillary is openly running against all of her husband’s successful law and order related policies of the 1990s.
NEW SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANT REPLACES HUMANS WITH IPADS: Eatsa in the city’s financial district offers iPad-based ordering, with meals prepared by people whom customers never have to see:
Not far from San Francisco, a hotel in Sunnyvale, the Aloft Cupertino, recently began testing a robot that assists its human colleagues with daily tasks such as changing linens and towels and delivering amenities to guests.
Riley Thomas, a San Francisco resident who works near Eatsa, was one of the few patrons who questioned the concept at a time when more and more families are struggling to survive in the city. “I like the food and love the price,” he said. “Still, it worries me that people will begin to think that this is how all restaurants should be run and it could really hurt jobs that are needed right now.”
Co-founder Scott Drummond said: “There is a fast food business model that we need to hit and we’re looking at ways that technology can increase efficiency … That way we can get the price down.”
Gee, what could have inspired these San Francisco restaurateurs so “unexpectedly?”
UNEXPECTEDLY: The Green Energy Scam Exposed by . . . Berkeley!?!
TANNED, RESTED, READY: Biden donors lying in wait.
Major fundraisers for Joe Biden’s past campaigns have not committed to Hillary Clinton, leaving the vice president’s allies convinced he can win the financial support necessary to challenge her.
Biden would face a financial giant in the Clinton campaign, which has won over many of President Obama’s fundraisers and already had a vast financial network.
But a number of big donors with ties to Biden have not thrown their support to the Democratic frontrunner.
And Clinton, who already faces an unexpectedly tough challenge from liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has seen doubts creep into her campaign as she has dealt with the controversy surrounding her use of a private email account as secretary of State.
“If VP Biden decides to run I will support him 100 percent,” New York attorney Richard J. Davis, a campaign bundler for Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign, told The Hill. Davis is a long-term Democratic supporter who served as assistant secretary of the Treasury Department during the Carter Administration.
The organization urging Biden to run for President – Draft Biden 2016 – would not comment specifically on its fundraising challenges.
I’m sure Hillary is thrilled.
Reminder to California civil servants: Bell, California’s staggering fiscal meltdown at the dawn of the Obama era is a warning, not a how-to guide for the topping the Guinness World Record Book of graft.
A TALE OF TWO MEDIA SOURCES: Donald Trump’s last minute decision to change the venue of a political rally in Mobile, Alabama has caused some outlets in the mainstream media to fully reveal their inability to report simple facts without mind-numbing spin. CNN, to their credit, seems to have (mostly) resisted the urge with “30,000 turn out for Trump’s Alabama pep rally“:
The event was previously planned to be held at the nearby Civic Center but was moved to the 43,000-seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium — a venue normally home to high school football games — to accommodate the crowd. The City of Mobile confirmed late Friday that 30,000 people attended.
At least CNN accurately reported the 30,000 attendance. But they failed to mention that Trump’s campaign team altered the venue late Thursday from Mobile’s approximately 2,000 seat Civic Center to the 40,000 Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Notice also that the CNN reporter couldn’t help but snark that the stadium was “a venue normally home to high school games.” While the stadium does host some of the bigger local high school football playoff games (and high school football is very big in Alabama), it is actually principally a college football venue, being the home stadium of the University of South Alabama football team and the GoDaddy Bowl.
The New York Times, as usual, couldn’t resist spinning and twisting the facts in its effort to make Trump (as with all things GOP) look as bad as possible, its headline reading “Donald Trump Fails to Fill Alabama Stadium, But Fans’ Zeal is Undiminished”:
Before Donald J. Trump arrived at a college football stadium here on Friday evening, the colorful guessing games that often accompany his campaign were very much in the air.
Would Mr. Trump actually fill all of the tens of thousands of seats at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the home field for the University of South Alabama Jaguars? How would one of the largest cities in one of the country’s most conservative states respond to a candidate whose bombast and brashness can sometimes seem limitless? Would Mr. Trump wear a “Make America Great Again” baseball hat, perhaps to conceal the effects of the wilting Gulf Coast heat and humidity on his much-remarked-upon mane?
As usual, the answers — no, loudly and yes — came amid the trademark gusto of both Mr. Trump’s personality and his evolving campaign for the presidency.
“Now I know how the great Billy Graham felt, because this is the same feeling,” Mr. Trump, referring to the celebrated evangelist, thundered from a stage built for the night’s rally, where the vast stretches of empty seats indicated that attendance had fallen short of the more than 30,000 people he had predicted.
Aside from the fact that the New York Times reporter, Alan Blinder (apt name), didn’t realize that his piece had asked three questions but proceeded to answer only two “no, loudly and yes,” he answered his initial, irrelevant question about filling the stadium “no.” Mr. Blinder felt the need to go even further and “report” that there were “vast stretches of empty seats” and that “attendance had fallen short of the more than 30,000 people he had predicted.”
The title of the New York Times’ piece and its failure to mention the last-minute venue change leaves the reader with the distinct impression that Trump had planned a rally in a large stadium all along, and had miserably and embarrassingly failed to fill it. This, of course, is 180 degrees from the actual truth. Can you imagine how the Times would have slobbered all over itself if Hillary Clinton had scheduled a rally in a 2,000 seat venue and, due to overwhelming interest, had changed the venue at the last minute to a 40,000 seat stadium, filling 30,000 of the seats? The Times would have been so excited it would have wet itself.
Look, whether you’re a fan of Trump or not isn’t the point here. The point is that, love him or hate him, the man is drawing unexpectedly large crowds, which is something no other Democrat or GOP candidate is doing. When reporters can’t seem to report this simple fact accurately, we all realize (once again) that we are being treated like little children who need to be “protected” by those who think they know better.
WIPING ISRAEL OFF THE MAP: “If Israelis aren’t paranoid, they should be. Every time they turn around, someone is trying to wipe their country off the map. Literally.”
Of course, Mr. Obama’s would-be deal with Iran is designed to simply take that punitive worldview to its ultimate end game.
RELATED: “Obama lawyers intervene to protect PLO funds in terrorism cases: In an unusual legal move, the Obama administration has taken the legal side of the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization in a federal court case that American terrorism victims’ families had already won.”
EVERYTHING IS SEEMINGLY SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL: Actual AP headline: “AP Exclusive: California fails on promises to create green jobs, energy savings.”
Gosh, other than half the country, who could have seen that one coming?!
MEMO TO VOX: YOU KNOW HOW THIS PROSPERITY WAS ACHIEVED? WE LET IT HAPPEN. “Readers of this blog will likely have seen this before (though it may well be new to Vox readers). Here is the amazing thing about the Vox article: It never once mentions capitalism, trade, economic freedom, or any synonym.”
Unexpectedly. (OK, to be fair, it’s rather “expectedly,” given Young Ezra’s views on the toxic brew that is nationalism combined with socialism.)
FROM THE GANG THAT BROUGHT US THE OBAMACARE WEBSITE: ‘NEXTGEN’ AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL COMPUTER SYSTEM BLOWS UP.
JON STEWART WANTED VIDEO EVIDENCE THAT HE WAS AN OBAMA PROPAGANDIST SO WE FOUND A BUNCH.
DISPATCHES FROM THE FRONTLINES OF INCOME INEQUALITY: “Housing is so outrageously expensive in San Francisco the city can’t hire enough teachers: According to a report from KTVU in San Francisco, the city’s school district needs to find 51 more teachers in the 2 weeks before school starts, but is having trouble hiring due to the high cost of living.”
And just to place this report in perspective, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2013, San Francisco has the lowest percentage of children of any major American city:
Just 13.4 percent of San Francisco’s 805,235 residents are younger than 18, the smallest percentage of any major city in the country. By contrast, San Jose’s percentage of children is 24.8 percent, Oakland’s is 21.3 percent, Boston’s is 16.8 percent and Seattle’s is 15.4 percent, according to Brian Cheu, director of community development for the Mayor’s Office of Housing. Even Manhattan is composed of roughly 15 percent children, according to Dan Kelly, director of planning for San Francisco’s Human Services Agency.
In 1970, children made up 22 percent of San Francisco. In 1960, they constituted 25 percent.
Curious how that number keeps “unexpectedly” declining.
(Although considering that in 2008, the Chronicle was complaining that “There is nothing more bacchanalian than a kid’s birthday party,” and how those bacchanalian birthday parties lead to increased global warming, from their perspective, those declining numbers are good news, right?)
As Harry Stein wrote 15 years ago in How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Found Inner Peace), one item on the checklist that you may be drifting towards the right is that “Someone’s going on about how fantastic San Francisco is, and it suddenly hits you that’s one place on earth you never want to live.”
FROM BORING TO BAFFLING: Theodore Dalrymple on The Economist:
The anonymity of the articles was intended to create the illusion that the magazine spoke from nothing so vulgar as a perspective, but rather from some Olympian height from which only the whole truth and nothing but the truth could be descried. It is the saving grace of every such magazine that no one remembers what he read in it the week before. Only by the amnesia of its readers can a magazine retain its reputation for perspicacity.
I found its style dull, too. How was it that correspondents from Lima to Limassol, from Cairo to Kathmandu, wrote in precisely the same fashion, as if everything that happened everywhere was fundamentally the same? Walter Bagehot, son-in-law of the founder of The Economist and its most famous editor, was a brilliant prose stylist and a wonderfully witty literary critic, among many other things; but The Economist has long been about as amusing as a speech by David Cameron. Its prose was the literary equivalent of IKEA furniture, prefabricated according to a manual of style; it tried to combine accessibility with judiciousness and arrived only at portentousness.
Who now reads it, and what for? I suppose there is a type of functionary who does not want to be caught out in ignorance of the latest political developments in Phnom Penh, or the supposed reasons for the latest uprising in Ouagadougou. The Economist is intellectual seriousness for middle management and MBAs. To be seen with it is a sign of belonging to, and of identifying with, a certain caste.
See also: the election of 2008, which the Economist went all in to manufacture, and continued to run worshipful covers of Obama posing Ever So Seriously in the years since. But as Mark Steyn wrote in 2009, when the bloom was first rubbing off the era of Hopenchange:
This is the point: The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist “grappling” with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion. At some point, The Economist, Messrs Brooks, Buckley & Co are going to have to acknowledge this. If they’re planning on spending the rest of his term tutting that his management style is obstructing the effective implementation of his centrist agenda, it’s going to be a long four years.
And for the Economist (and the similarly corporatist Bloomberg “Unexpectedly” Business) the “fun” continues, as the blinders never came off.
(Found via Kathy Shaidle.)
Dan Price, 31, tells the New York Times that things have gotten so bad he’s been forced to rent out his house.
Only three months ago Price was generating headlines—and accusations of being a socialist — when he announced the new salary minimum for all 120 employees at his Gravity Payments credit card processing firm. Price said he was doing it, and slashing his $1 million pay package to pay for it, to address the wealth gap.
“I’m working as hard as I ever worked to make it work,” he told the Times in a video that shows him sitting on a plastic bucket in the garage of his house. “I’m renting out my house right now to try and make ends meet myself.”
The Gods of Copybook Headings could not be reached for comment.
HEY SEATTLE! HOW’S THAT $15 AN HOUR MINIMUM WAGE LAW WORKING OUT FOR YA? “The law of unintended consequences is a bitch, ain’t it?”
UNEXPECTEDLY: Fall in gas prices hasn’t led to increased consumer spending. “Visa CFO Prabhu also said the company felt that the money being conserved at the pump was being funneled into savings accounts, a trend that has been backed up in various economic data reports. . . . But just a few months ago, the collapse in gas prices was supposed to be the next big thing for the US economy. Instead, it seems like nothing has happened.”
Maybe consumers realize that we can’t expect any real economic improvement until after January 2017 at the earliest.
IT’S ORIGIN AND PURPOSE, STILL A TOTAL MYSTERY: Authorities Still Say It’s ‘Premature’ to Speculate About Chattanooga Shooter’s Motive.
JOURNALISM: CBS’s Charlie Rose, who on the eve of the 2008 election claimed “I don’t know what Barack Obama’s worldview is” (a ludicrous statement at that late date, especially considering Rose had an entire newsroom of reporters at his beck and call) interviews Major Garrett on CBS This Morning. “Rather than defend his colleague’s tough question, co-host Charlie Rose chose to ask if he had any regrets or ‘second thoughts’ surrounding his actions.” To his credit, Garrett replied:
And the whole point of the question Charlie was why were these four Americans not accounted for in the context of negotiating a wide range of issues with the Iranians? Remember, in the final hours of this deal, the Iranians put other things on the table that hadn’t been previously discussed. The arms embargo on conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. If those could be introduced, it seems to that it’s reasonable to ask the Commandeer in Chief if other issues on the American side could have been introduced. I suggested there might have been one, the fate of four Americans. I stand by that.
At long last, Charlie is having his question answered — and doesn’t like what he hears.
I bet Sharyl Attkisson could tell Garrett what happens at CBS when journalists there covering the Obama White House actually do their job.
RELATED: Palace Guard swings into action: CNN Blasts CBS News’s Major Garrett for Asking Obama Tough Question, and “unexpectedly,” Time-Warner-CNN-HBO spokesman Bill Maher formerly the host of a show called “Politically Incorrect,” plays the race card.
If only Garrett had thrown a shoe at the president, CNN would be singing his praises.
MAJOR GARRETT RESPONDS TO ‘CONTROVERSY’ OVER HIS QUESTION FOR THE PRESIDENT: “Clearly it struck a nerve. That was my intention.” Garrett went on to add: “Was it provocative? Yes. Was it intended to be such? Absolutely.”
There’s a 50 percent chance other journalists might “unexpectedly” discover they no longer have to be presidential stenographers come January 2017.
same media that had vaginal-not-clitoral orgasms about Iraqi reporter throwing a shoe at Bush pretty sure now Major Garrett is racist
— TheUltraYachtLife (@AceofSpadesHQ) July 15, 2015
THE UNABOMBER’S CHILDREN: “My favourite Deep Green Resistance member is the woman who wants a return to conditions during ‘the first four million years’ of human existence, when everybody “participated,’” Tim Blair writes. She’s wearing adult braces, which weren’t exactly a common feature of the pre-civilisation era.”
“The extreme green movement is nudging ever closer to a form of fascism,” Blair adds. “There is not much difference between words once deployed in the service of preserving a master race and words now deployed in the service of preserving a master planet”
IN THE END, GREECE’S WAR ON DEBT IS A MORALITY PROBLEM: A majority of Greeks simply do not believe debt must always be repaid.
Good thing such a fundamental transformation could never happen to America’s morals…
RELATED: Chicago’s Financial Fire: “After years of warnings, financial reality is hitting home in Chicago, clouding Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hope for a transformational legacy.”
GERMAN TEXTBOOKS AND ANTI-ISRAEL LIBERAL ELITES: At Commentary, Evelyn Gordon writes “a German study showing that educated elites, rather than the far-right fringes, are the wellspring of anti-Semitism in that country; just last month, another study found that the same is true for anti-Israel sentiment. And the reason for this goes beyond the obvious fact that anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism are related:”
The background to the new German study is a series of polls showing shocking levels of anti-Israel sentiment among ordinary Germans: For instance, fully 35 percent “equate Israeli policies toward the Palestinians with Nazi policies toward the Jews.” Given the vaunted “special relationship” between Germany and Israel, such findings raise obvious questions about how so many Germans developed such warped views.
So a group of German and Israeli researchers decided to analyze German textbooks to see what exactly German schools are teaching their students. They examined 1,200 history, geography and social studies textbooks from five German states, and concluded that these books portray Israel almost exclusively as a militarist, warmongering society.
Israel’s robust democracy, respect for human rights and other achievements are absent in these books. The illustrations consist of “tendentious and one-sided photographic presentations” of Israeli soldiers threatening or inflicting violence on Palestinians.
To quote from a 2012 article at the Israeli YNet Website:
To quote psychiatrist Zvi Rex: “Europe will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.” Europe doesn’t want to live under the psychological burden of Auschwitz forever. The Jews are living reminders of the moral failure of Europe. This leads to the projection of guilt on Israel and the remaining European Jews.
Gordon also notes that in America, 47 percent of Democrats “deemed Israel racist, with only 32 percent disagreeing, and a whopping 76 percent said Israel has too much influence on U.S. foreign policy. But in truth, it shouldn’t be news to anyone by now that anti-Israel sentiment, like its kissing cousin anti-Semitism, is primarily the province of the liberal elites.”
Read the whole thing.
RELATED: “A BBC documentary has substituted the word ‘Israelis’ for ‘Jews’ in its translation of interviews with Palestinians, its maker has admitted.”
MEDIA FAIL: THE FLAWED EARLY COVERAGE OF 1995 OKLAHOMA CITY FEDERAL BUILDING BOMBING: From Joseph Campbell, whose previous book was the Blogosphere favorite Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism, and whose latest work is 1995: The Year the Future Began. At his new 1995-themed blog, Campbell writes that when it came to the Oklahoma City bombing, “The news media — especially broadcast outlets — leaned hard on what proved to be an erroneous presumption.” Unexpectedly:
As such, the reporting in the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing offers a telling reminder about how early news accounts of a major disaster tend to be misleading and off-base.
“It is,” I write in my latest book, 1995: The Year the Future Began, “a vulnerability the news media seldom seem to anticipate, or to learn from.”
In pushing the flawed narrative in April 1995, the news media effectively laid the groundwork for enduring suspicions that the bombing at Oklahoma City was the work of a broad and shadowy international conspiracy which, in one inventive telling, included the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Ramzi Yousef.
But as I write in 1995, the 20 years since the bombing at Oklahoma City has produced no compelling evidence that the conspiracy extended beyond an undistinguished trio of disaffected U.S. Army veterans: Timothy J. McVeigh, the remorseless ringleader who was executed in 2001; Terry Nichols, the principal accomplice who is in prison for life, and Michael Fortier, who knew about the bomb plot but did nothing to stop it.
That, I write, “was the likely extent of a ragtag conspiracy that brought about the Murrah Building’s destruction,” killing 168 people and injuring more than 680 others.
“But for many Americans,”I add, “it was just too ragtag, too improbable to embrace. The gravity of the attack in Oklahoma City — not unlike the assassination of President Kennedy — seemed to cry for a plot more substantial and a conspiracy more elaborate and sophisticated than misfit Army buddies angry at the federal government.
But the news media’s first instincts 20 years ago were to press the Middle East angle, and press it hard.
I recently read Campbell’s new book, and it’s a fascinating snapshot of a year that foreshadows our current era in many respects; his chapters on the Oklahoma City bombing, the OJ trial and even the birth of Internet institutions such as Amazon are particularly engrossing, with many new details for those who thought they knew all the angles to those once ubiquitous stories.
This week, HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, sent a letter to The New York Times inquiring about Cruz’s omission from the list, sources with knowledge of the situation said. The Times responded by telling HarperCollins that the book did not meet their criteria for inclusion.
“We have uniform standards that we apply to our best seller list, which includes an analysis of book sales that goes beyond simply the number of books sold,” Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy explained when asked about the omission. “This book didn’t meet that standard this week.”
Asked to specify those standards, Murphy replied: “Our goal is that the list reflect authentic best sellers, so we look at and analyze not just numbers, but patterns of sales for every book.”
Back in 2008, Roger Kimball, the publisher of Encounter Books (and my colleague at PJM), decided he had enough of those “standards,” and publicly called the NYT on their Pinch of BS:
Encounter Books, the conservative publishing house run by Roger Kimball, will no longer send review copies to the New York Times. In an amusing and much-discussed item posted to the company’s Encounter Intelligence Web log, Mr. Kimball explained that the Times has “studiously” ignored almost all of his titles, and so if it plans to review any in the future, it will have to buy them like any other reader.
In a phone interview with The New York Sun, Mr. Kimball said he doesn’t think his decision will jeopardize the financial health of his company; if anything, it might serve as a “wake-up call” to Times Book Review Editor Sam Tanenhaus, whom Mr. Kimball describes as a “moderate left-wing opportunist” responsible for perpetuating the “travesty” that has become of a once justly celebrated organ of cultural criticism. The Times is now a clearinghouse of “press releases emanating from the p.c. seats of established opinion” and “metrosexual lifestyle stuff,” Mr. Kimball said. (Mr. Tanenhaus did not return The Sun’s phone call for comment.)
When he was named the editor of the Times Book Review in 2004, many believed that Mr. Tanenhaus would be sympathetic to the intellectual right, Mr. Kimball noted, citing Mr. Tanenhaus’s well-received biography of Whittaker Chambers. And yet, throughout his tenure as the head of the Sunday books section, Mr. Kimball charged, Mr. Tanenhaus has assigned those few conservative books the paper has covered to reviewers who seem to have their own axes to grind, and who appear to have little interest in giving the books an objective reading.
“It’s not that the reviews are critical,” Mr. Kimball said. “It’s that they’re sophomoric and uninformed” and seldom rise above the level of the “ideological hatchet-job.”
In early 2009, at the peak of the left’s “We Are Socialists Now” shiny Obama unicorn fever, Tanenhaus, then still editor of the Times’ book review section, infamously published a thin screed titled The Death of Conservatism. About five minutes later, the Tea Party emerged, and by the end of 2010, thanks in large part to the all-Democrat Obamacare bill, the GOP recaptured the House, in 2014 the Senate, and currently 31 states have Republican governors and the GOP controls numerous state legislatures.
Will the GOP take back the White House in 2016? Not if the Times can help it — and they’re doing everything they can to prevent it.
JUNK SCIENCE = GARBAGE POLICY: “This spring, Dr. Johannes Bohannon and a team of German scientists discovered that people on low-carbohydrate diets could lose weight faster if they used one weird trick: Eat a bar of chocolate every day,” T. Becket Adams writes at the Washington Examiner:
Newsrooms around the world responded eagerly to Bohannon’s findings.
“Excellent News: Chocolate Can Help You Lose Weight!” Huffington Post India declared in a report.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail blared in a headline, “Pass the Easter Egg! New study reveals that eating chocolate doesn’t affect your Body Mass Index…and can even help you LOSE weight!”
In the United States, Modern Healthcare wrote, “Dieting? Don’t forget the chocolate.”
The story continued to grow, with news of the sweet discovery spreading from the Internet to print and television. Even Europe’s highest-circulation newspaper, Bild, got in on the action, publishing a report titled “Slim by Chocolate!”
Journalists and readers looked past the too-good-to-be-true nature of the findings and devoured the story wholesale.
But Bohannon’s research was a hoax.
The health study was deliberately faked to test the hypothesis that scientists and reporters rarely detect junk science. No one caught on to this ruse.
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT: POLYAMOROUS RIGHTS ADVOCATES SEE MARRIAGE EQUALITY COMING FOR THEM:
Like others across the country last week, a Washington, D.C., couple and their housewarming guests buzzed about the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. But they were far more interested in Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissent than the majority opinion that made same-sex marriage the law of the land.
The couple – a husband and his wife – are polyamorous, and had just moved in with their girlfriend. And in Roberts’ dissent, they saw a path that could make three-way relationships like theirs legal, too.
“Did you see we were mentioned by Roberts?” the husband beamed as he welcomed guests the day after the ruling. The chief justice wrote that polygamy has deeper roots in history and that the decision allowing gays to marry “would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.”
“If the majority is willing to take the big leap,” he added, “it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one.”
“But why stop there when the concept of liberty goes a lot further?”, Richard Epstein writes in “Hard Questions on Gay Marriage,” at the Hoover Institute’s Defining Ideas Website. “In particular, Kennedy never explains why his notions of dignity and autonomy do not require the Supreme Court to revisit its 1878 decision in Reynolds upholding criminal punishment for polygamy, which is still on the books. Nor does he ask whether the dignity of workers could, and should, be used as a reason to strike down the full range of labor regulations on both wages and hours that make it flatly illegal for two individuals to enter into a simple employment contract on mutually agreeable terms.”
“HELLO, DETROIT? I THINK WE’VE FOUND YOUR NEXT MAYOR!”
“How can something like this happen without prior warning?” asked Angeliki Psarianou, a 67-year-old retired public servant, who stood in the drizzle after arriving too late at one empty ATM in the Greek capital.
Yes, it’s always unfortunate when bad economic news keeps happening so (wait for it…wait for it…) “unexpectedly.”
UPDATE: Closer to home, “Who’s ready for a bailout of … Puerto Rico?”
THE IRS SCANDAL, DAY 778: “Now it turns out that 422 backup tapes from the crucial period were routinely erased by IRS workers. The tapes were destroyed in March 2014, according to the Treasury inspector general for the IRS, J. Russell George. That is long after lawmakers started trying to obtain all of Ms. Lerner’s emails, and long after the IRS issued instructions for employees to cease routine destruction of documents that might relate to the probes.”
NIKKI HALEY’S STOCK RISES AMID FLAG FUROR:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is attracting widespread praise for leading the bipartisan effort to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the Statehouse.
Haley’s swift response has put her back in the national spotlight, stoking speculation that she could be the vice presidential nominee on the GOP’s 2016 presidential ticket. The 43-year-old governor saved her party from divisive bickering and damaging headlines that could have lingered for months.
While other prominent Republicans hemmed and hawed, Haley was clear at her press conference Monday that the flag must come down. Defenders of the flag, meanwhile, largely remained silent.
The long-term political impact of Haley’s new stance — which is much different than her position last year — is unclear. But the short-term effect is obvious.
Note though that hitting Control-F on the above article at The Hill and typing in the words “Fritz” or “Hollings” brings back zero results.
RELATED: “If someone said to [Ann] Coulter, ‘You’re just a whitebread girl from Connecticut, what do you know of America?,’ I imagine she’d have a pointed two-word rebuttal, and that rebuttal would be well-justified,” Ace of Spades writes. “Why is Nikki Haley then to be dismissed [by Coulter] based upon the accident of her own birth?”
UNEXPECTEDLY! U.S. economy shrinks .7 percent in first quarter. “The numbers released Friday were a revision of earlier figures that had showed GDP growing in the first quarter at 0.2 percent. The contraction was the U.S.’s third in the aftermath of the Great Recession.” Maybe we’re not really in an “aftermath.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! Sticker Shock for Some Obamacare Customers. “So the proposed 2016 Obamacare rates have been filed in many states, and in many states, the numbers are eye-popping. Market leaders are requesting double-digit increases in a lot of places. Some of the biggest are really double-digit: 51 percent in New Mexico, 36 percent in Tennessee, 30 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon. The reason? They say that with a full year of claims data under their belt for the first time since Obamacare went into effect, they’re finding the insurance pool was considerably older and sicker than expected.”
Gee, that’s bad luck.
THE STEPHANOPOULOS TRIFECTA, over at Ed Driscoll.com:
Yes, it’s now up to $75,000. But don’t miss the video featuring Stephanopoulos playing giggling straight man to Diane Sawyer as she attempts to explains media ethics and an “unexpectedly” incredulous public at the end of that last link. (Bumped).
UNEXPECTEDLY! Under Health Care Act, Many Tax Filers Are Discovering Costly Complications. “This filing season, for the first time, millions of Americans are facing tax implications — and new forms that even seasoned preparers are finding confusing — related to their health insurance status. The changes are not only complicating things for tax filers, but also costing many of them money.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week and nonfarm productivity contracted more sharply than previously thought in the fourth quarter.”
UNEXPECTEDLY! NYT: Insured, But Not Covered.
UNEXPECTEDLY! Minimum Wage Hike Closes San Francisco Bookstore.