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  • Praising with faint damn

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Heritage responds to criticism from Media Matters and others that its assessment of unemployment during the New Deal excludes those employed by the government:

    Committed to the belief that bigger government is always better, Media Matters and Campaign for America's Future are pushing back data showing that the New Deal never solved unemployment. Cutting through their rhetoric, both leftist organizations make the same narrow objection: that the data we use does not count make work government programs like the Civil Conservation Corps as employed.

    Now we will always maintain that not counting government work programs as employment is the more accurate measure.

    ...

    But for the sake of argument, lets cede the point that anyone receiving government employment assistance is 'employed'. Does that end up changing the the impact of New Deal spending on unemployment? No. As the chart above shows, even when using the numbers preferred by the leftist proponents of big government, the story is still the same: Unemployment never made it near the 1970-2008 5.5% normal unemployment rate until well after the U.S. entered World War II.

    Got that? Heritage sniffs that the New Deal "never solved unemployment" because it did not bring unemployment from 25 percent all the way down to 5.5 percent.

    If the worst the far-right Heritage Foundation can say about the New Deal is that it failed to cut the unemployment rate by 80 percent, that sounds like a pretty solid, if accidental, endorsement to me.

  • The press and the Clinton Foundation

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Three stars to blogger eriposte at LeftCoaster for having the patience to document the media's vigilant attempt to prop up the supposed drama--the deeply scaring conflict of interests--regarding the Clinton Foundation and Hillary becoming SOS. The amount of bad journalism surrounding the story has been extensive, with the most recent bout coming from the AP.

    This eriposte time table pretty much says it all.

  • A bit of a stretch ...

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Time's Michael Scherer:

    The Page notes that Caroline Kennedy's public approval in New York state is slipping, while Andrew Cuomo, once an in-law of the Kennedy clan, is gaining ground. ... One reason Kennedy's momentum may be stalling: There is something a bit claustrophobic about the whole high-society world that Kennedy claims as her own, a fact that is magnified by Kennedy's own relatively thin resume. As one example, Ben Smith points to this passage from Michael Wolff's new biography of Rupert Murdoch:

    As Rupert Murdoch begins to plot to get the Wall Street Journal, he's also worried about getting Grace into private school in New York. He wants her to go to Brearley, where [an older daughter] went. He recruits Gary Ginsberg, who knows the Kennedys, to help him get Caroline Kennedy, a Brearley Alumna and board member, to write a letter on Grace's behalf.

    Got that? Caroline Kennedy's public approval in New York is slipping because Michael Wolff's biography of Rupert Murdoch -- a book that Scherer's source says nobody is talking about -- contains a passage in which Rupert Murdoch asked Gary Ginsberg to get Kennedy to write a letter of recommendation for Murdoch's daughter.

    Yeah, right.

  • What happened to the rule of law at the WSJ?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Commuting Scooter Libby's sentence wasn't enough for Journal columnist Daniel Henninger. He wants a full, last-minute pardon for Libby who was convicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valarie Plame. Libby never had serve his jail time (thanks to Bush) and Libby has never expressed remorse for his crimes.

    Lots of conservatives were angry when Libby got convicted in court. What's rather odd is that conservatives like Henninger, who howled pretty much nonstop during the Clinton years about the absolute reverence for the rule of law (and don't even get them started on the topic of perjury) suddenly have no use for the jury system in America. Pundits like Henninger just don't like the Libby verdict and think it ought to be nullified by Bush.

    Heres' Henninger flaunting his disdain for the rule of law:

    Nominally the legal case was about the wheels of a prosecution in motion. Indeed by its end the details of the case against Mr. Libby had burned down to a travesty. But make no mistake. The effort that went into keeping the Plame affair alive was about discrediting the war effort in Iraq and the Bush antiterror program.

    i.e. Being found guilty by a jury of your peers now qualifies as a "travesty."

    Nope, no double standard here folks.

  • Chris Matthews eats crow

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Chris Matthews, this morning:

    "At 11 this morning, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York will also take the floor to say goodbye. That'll be an emotional moment because everyone knows Hillary Clinton earned that Senate seat and very much loves that place. In fact, is loved a lot in the Senate. She has really become one of the members of that Senate club."

    Of course, some people haven't always been clear on that. Chris Matthews, for one. Last January, Matthews said of Clinton: "[T]he reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around."

    That comment eventually led to an apology from Matthews, after it sparked renewed focus on his lengthy history of on-air sexism.

  • Of course, the GOP could also lose the 3 seats

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Goofy Politico headline [emphasis added]:

    GOP could win 3 key Senate seats

    The article is about how the GOP has to defend three new vacancies in 2010 because of retiring senators in Ohio, Missouri and Florida. According to Politico, the GOP "could win" all three races. Could they also lose all three races? You bet.

    But Politico stresses the GOP may have already found three "top-tier" candidates to run in the three states. Who says they're top tier? GOP consultants.

    Number of Republicans quoted in the article about how great the GOP candidates might be? 4

    Number of Democrats quoted in the article about how great the GOP candidates might be? 1

  • Still waiting for the Rightroots movement, cont'd

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    At Huffington Post, Brandon Friedman examines conservatives' still-fledgling attempt to get an online movement off the ground:

    I'm not a psychologist, but this is really fascinating if you put it all together: It appears that distraught conservative pundits and bloggers are actually in the midst of collectively retreating into the world of fantasy as a psychological defense mechanism. Let's take a look at three recent exhibits that illustrate what I'm talking about.

    The three are RedState's creation of the creepy sounding Red Army Strike Force, complete with its let's-play-Army logo, the online embrace of 24's Jack Bauer (pssst bloggers, he's not a real guy), and Joe the Plumber's turn as a war correspondent (pssst, he's not a real journalist.)

    Friedman accurately concludes about the GOP bloggers:

    They're actively choosing not to participate in the reality that is present-day America, instead opting to fall back on the comforting, familiar images of handymen and handsome actors on their television sets.

  • Somerby: MoDo "play[s] the fool"

    Blog ››› ››› MARCIA KUNTZ

    On his incomparable site, The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby once again targets The New York Times op-ed page for devoting valuable real estate to the columns of Maureen Dowd. From the sublime -- the "striking report," by Dexter Filkins on the front page about heroic Afghan girls enduring torture and its continued threat just to go to school -- to the ridiculous -- the "typical mess" that is Dowd's column today - Somerby highlights the Times at its best and worst all in one section of one day's paper.

    Specifically, Somerby called attention to this tripe - what Somerby calls Dowd's "latest novel" -- about Hillary Clinton in today's column:

    She will easily intimidate the world's dictators, just as she often intimidated Obama in the primaries. But it remains to be seen whether she can put aside her tendency to see disagreement as disloyalty. Can she work at the State Department with those who deserted her to support the usurper Obama? Can she manage Foggy Bottom better than she managed her foggy campaign?

    Obama and Hillary continue to be engaged in an intense tango.

    The new president is confident enough to think he can do what has never been done. He thinks he can pull out - like a diamond from carbon - the sparkling side of the Clintons that can make them exceptional public servants, extracting it from the gray side of the Clintons that can make them tacky, greedy, opportunistic and ethically shady.

    Cleaning out the Augean stables was nothing compared to this task, with Obama trying to bend Hillary and Bill to his will, while they try to bend him to theirs.

    In what way is Obama having to "try[] to bend Hillary and Bill to his will" or vice versa? Maybe Dowd doesn't have to say. She did after all write a "novel" under the guise of a New York Times column.

  • London tabloid concocts the cost of Obama's inauguration; Drudge cheers

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    London's Daily Mail claims the cost of Obama's inauguration is approaching $160 million:

    By the time the final dance has been held at one of the many inaugural balls the costs for the day will be a staggering £110m.

    Not surprisingly, the newspaper provides no attribution for the figure. (The actual cost is closer to $40 million.) But that doesn't matter because Drudge has linked to the Daily Mail's report and we're sure reporters are on the phone as we speak.

    Drudge today also linked to an article I wrote at Salon four years ago chastising the press for not asking questions about the cost of the Bush 2005 inauguration ($40 million), which at the time shattered all the spending records and occurred at a time when the war in Iraq was still front-and-center. (Although it cost roughly the same, Bush's bash attracted just a fraction of the crowd expected for Obama's swearing in.)

    Drudge claims my article captured the "lefty outrage" at the cost of Bush's 2005 celebration. In truth, a strong majority of Americans (66 percent, including 46 percent of Republicans) thought that, in light of the fresh fighting in Iraq, Bush's inauguration should have been more "subdued."

    But thanks for the link anyway Matt, I'm sure Salon appreciates the traffic.

    FYI, the $40 million figure for the Bush and Obama inaugurations is in reference to the cost of the swearing in and the activities surrounding that. The extra cost of state and federal security is not traditionally included in media references to the final tab for inaugurations. In the case of Bush in 2005, the cost of security added tens of millions of dollars on top of the final $40 million figure. The same will be true for Obama this year.

    UPDATE: Not surprisingly, fact-free warbloggers like Jawa Report are falling for the phony report that Obama's inauguration will cost two or three times what Bush's did in 2005.