The "Net Neutrality" Wars

Pricing regulations and the notion that the government can regulate how the firms operate don't make sense. The WSJ has this:

There's nothing neutral in the battle between AT&T Inc. and Google Inc. over the future of the Internet.

Google, the powerhouse of Silicon Valley, and AT&T, champion for the old-line phone industry, are marshaling political allies, lobbyists and—in AT&T's case—labor unions for a fight over proposed "net neutrality" rules that could affect tens of billions of dollars in investments needed to upgrade the U.S. broadband network, which lags in speed and affordability compared with some countries.

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission made good on its promise to push new rules that would require Internet providers such as AT&T to deliver Web traffic without delay.

Broadly, that means cable and phone companies couldn't block or slow access to services from Google, Netflix or others that are a drain on their networks or could compete with their businesses.

But as the details of the new rules are hammered out in coming months, AT&T and Google are ramping up efforts to ensure the FCC doesn't impose rules that could hurt their profits or expansion plans.

Plenty of lobbyists have made their concerns about the FCC's proposal known to their political allies over the past few weeks. But AT&T lobbyists were particularly active, swarming Capitol Hill and state houses, prompting a bipartisan mix of governors, congressmen and senators to send worried letters to the FCC. Two big labor unions have taken out newspaper ads attacking the new rules.

"Google to date has gotten relatively a free pass that they're somehow promoting the public good on net neutrality as opposed to, what I see, is that they're trying to entrench their business model," said Robert Quinn, AT&T's senior regulatory lawyer in Washington. . . .

More regulations means that big changes are less likely to occur in the future.

McCain moves to block "net neutrality" rules

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The CBO's estimates of insurance costs for the Baucus Senate Bill

Sarah Palin and other conservatives don't endorse Republican candidate in New York 23rd's Special Election

A number of Republicans care more about supporting a candidate based on what that candidate believes.

Some of the most prominent names in national Republican Party politics are lining up against the GOP nominee in a key upstate New York House special election, the latest being former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who weighed in Friday.

In endorsing Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman in the Nov. 3 contest, Santorum joined former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, all of whom announced their backing for the conservative third-party candidate this week.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty suggested Friday that he might be the next well-known Republican to break with the party establishment and support Hoffman. When asked about the race Friday during an interview with ABC, he expressed frustration with GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava and said he will “probably” endorse in the race.

While Scozzafava can point to many other prominent conservatives who support her bid—including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill—this week’s surge of leading conservatives to Hoffman’s camp is a troubling sign for her campaign and the national GOP establishment since several of the recent Hoffman endorsers have significant followings and represent the most energetic part of the Republican base.

“I would prefer to not have to go up to New York to endorse and campaign for the conservative candidate. But Republicans lost the race when they nominated Dede,” Armey told POLITICO. . . .

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"House health care bill over $1 trillion for decade"

The Associated Press has this:

Health care legislation taking shape in the House carries a price tag of at least $1 trillion over a decade, significantly higher than the target President Barack Obama has set, congressional officials said Friday as they struggled to finish work on the measure for a vote early next month.
Democrats have touted an unreleased Congressional Budget Office estimate of $871 billion in recent days, a total that numerous officials acknowledge understates the bill's true cost by $150 billion or more. That figure excludes several items designed to improve benefits for Medicare and Medicaid recipients and providers, as well as public health programs and more, they added.
The officials who disclosed the details did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss them publicly.
Some moderate Democrats have expressed reluctance to support a bill as high as $1 trillion. Last month, Obama said in a nationally televised address before a joint session of Congress that he preferred a package with a price tag of around $900 billion. . . . .

"The bill will be paid for over 10 years. It will reduce costs but also will not add a dime to the deficit" in future years, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a news conference. . . . .

Anyone who believes these CBO estimates has been drinking too much.

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Soros on companies getting money from government

I find Soros' claim of justified resentment ironic given the amount of money that the Obama administration is giving to Soros. For example, the money given to drilling for oil off of Brazil.

The big profits made by some of Wall Street’s leading banks are “hidden gifts” from the state, and taxpayer resentment of such companies is “justified”, George Soros, the fund manager, said in an interview with the Financial Times.

“Those earnings are not the achievement of risk-takers,” Mr Soros said. “These are gifts, hidden gifts, from the government, so I don’t think that those monies should be used to pay bonuses. There’s a resentment which I think is justified.” . . .

I like this:

“With the too-big-to-fail concept comes a need to regulate the payments that employees receive,”

Why just regulating what employees receive? Why not what the shareholders like Soros makes? Does this mean that the government can regulate what Soros makes?


Cass Sunstein proposes getting rid of term marriage in law

So the push to allow civil unions for homosexuals would put them on the same level as heterosexuals. My question for Cass would be this: Why limit civil unions to two people?

The U.S. government should abolish its sanctioning of marriage, argued Cass Sunstein, President Obama's regulatory czar.

Sunstein proposed that the concept of marriage should become privatized, with the state only granting civil union contracts to couples wishing to enter into an agreement.

Sunstein explained marriage licensing is unnecessary, pointing out people stay committed to organizations like country clubs and homeowner associations without any government interference.

"Under our proposal, the word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licenses would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of government," wrote Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler in their 2008 book, "Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness."

In the book – obtained and reviewed by WND – Sunstein explains his approach would ensure that "the only legal status states would confer on couples would be a civil union, which would be a domestic partnership agreement between any two people." . . .

p. 225: "what is the balance sheet for official marriage? Its benefits are surprisingly low; in many ways it is an anachronism. The most that can be said is that official marriage might contribute to a kind of commitment that benefits both couples and children. On the cost side, official marriage does not do a great deal of harm. But it does produce unnecessary polarization . . . . the most obvious difficulty is that religious organizations insist that they should be permitted to define marriage as they like, while same-sex couples insist that they should be able to make long-term commitments without having a second-class status as a matter of law."

Note also: “The administration believes the Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory and should be repealed,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler.

Last Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a lecture at the University of Maine where he told students of President Obama's intent to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

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Some great investment: Private investor only has to put up 31 percent of the money

The private investor only has to put up 31 percent ($26.5 million out of the total $85.26 million) of the money put into the project. Here is a question: why won't private investors put up the rest of the money?

SYRACUSE, N.Y — A new New York company plans to complete financing this year for a plant to produce electric cars and begin rolling out the three-door, plug-in hatchbacks in late 2010, the company chief executive said Friday.

Bannon Automotive CEO Paul Wimer said at a news conference that Syracuse was chosen over sites in Kentucky, Michigan and elsewhere because of its proximity to key markets and the "dogged pursuit" of the Freeport-based startup by local, state and federal officials.

Gov. David Paterson said New York state is providing a $6.76 million package of grants and tax incentives to Bannon, and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said he is trying to help Bannon obtain $52 million in federal loans and loan guarantees.

Bannon will invest $26.5 million into the plant.

The company has secured an exclusive North American licensing deal with Reva Electric Car Co. of Bangalore, India, to assemble the NXR. Reva cars are now sold across Asia and Europe. . . .

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A new danger to flying: Pilots arguing with each other

From the BBC:

The crew of a Northwest Airlines plane blamed being distracted by a "heated discussion" for missing by 150 miles (240km) the airport they were meant to land at. So how common are tensions in the cockpit, and what do you do if you fall out with your colleagues at 35,000ft? Penny Spiller reports.

Imagine being stuck with one or two colleagues in a space not much bigger than a broom cupboard for 10 hours on end.

You are busy at the start and the end of your shift, but the intervening hours are a little more relaxed. It's a good time for a chat if you get on with your workmates. But what if you don't?

Earlier this month, a scuffle was reported to have broken out between the pilots and cabin crew of an Air India flight.

A row over allegations of sexual harassment was said to have spilled into the galley, startling the 106 passengers on the flight from the United Arab Emirates to Delhi. The airline said it would investigate.

The crew of the Northwest Airlines flight between San Diego and Minneapolis said they had been having a heated discussion over airline policy, although an investigation will also look into reports that they may have fallen asleep. . . . .


Voters Trust Republicans mor than Democrats on Issues

With all the attacks on Republicans, this should help given them a little confidence. Rasmussen Reports has this new poll of 1,000 Likely Voters October 14-15 & 18-19, 2009:

For the first time in recent years, voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on all 10 key electoral issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports. The GOP holds double-digit advantages on five of them.
Republicans have nearly doubled their lead over Democrats on economic issues to 49% to 35%, after leading by eight points in September.
The GOP also holds a 54% to 31% advantage on national security issues and a 50% to 31% lead on the handling of the war in Iraq.
But voters are less sure which party they trust more to handle government ethics and corruption, an issue that passed the economy in voter importance last month. Thirty-three percent (33%) trust Republicans more while 29% have more confidence in Democrats. Another 38% are undecided. Last month, the parties were virtually tied on the issue. . . .

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Dems refuse to budge on Abortion language

A couple dozen Democrats are refusing to go along with their party's health care bill unless it includes a provision to ban the use of public funds for abortion.

the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it can't support a health overhaul bill unless the anti-abortion language is strengthened.
Unless an eleventh-hour agreement is reached, Stupak intends to carry through on a threat he's been holding over House leaders for months: to block action on the larger health overhaul bill unless he's allowed to offer a stand-alone amendment during floor debate to include the Hyde amendment restrictions in the health overhaul bill.
Such an amendment would be almost certain to prevail, since it likely would attract the votes of most Republicans as well as some Democrats. So Democratic leaders won't let Stupak offer it.
Instead, it appears they may have to take the risk of letting Stupak try to block action on the underlying bill, which he intends to do by assembling "no" votes on a procedural measure that needs to pass before debate can begin.
In the Senate, where the leading health overhaul bill includes language similar to that in the House, abortion has been much less of an issue. . . . .

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White House tries to keep Fox News from Pay Czar interview

These guys in the White House are just amazing. You got to figure that they have seen something in the polling that makes them think that what they are doing will be successful among voters, that they are alienating some voters from watching Fox News. But this whole thing is very strange. It is good that the media has responded this way, though they possibly could have responded more forcefully early on (e.g., when Obama boycotted Fox News).

The Obama administration on Thursday failed in its attempt to manipulate other news networks into isolating and excluding Fox News, as Republicans on Capitol Hill stepped up their criticism of the hardball tactics employed by the White House.

The Obama administration on Thursday tried to make "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg available for interviews to every member of the White House pool except Fox News. The pool is the five-network rotation that for decades has shared the costs and duties of daily coverage of the presidency.

But the Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks consulted and decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included.

The administration relented, making Feinberg available for all five pool members and Bloomberg TV.

The pushback came after White House senior adviser David Axelrod told ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday that Fox News is not a real news organization and other news networks "ought not to treat them that way."

The decision to boycott the Feinberg interview unless Fox News was included was cheered by media analysts, who said the administration's gambit was taking its feud with Fox News too far. President Obama has already declined to go on "Fox News Sunday," even while appearing on the other Sunday shows.

"I'm really cheered by the other members saying "No, if Fox can't be part of it, we won't be part of it,'" said Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, calling the move to limit Feinberg's availability "outrageous."

"What it's really about to me is the Executive Branch of the government trying to tell the press how it should behave. I mean, this democracy -- we know this -- only works with a free and unfettered press to provide information," he said.

Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. said the administration was potentially in violation of the Constitution with its attempt to restrict access to the "eyes and ears" of the country. . . . .

Even liberal Democrats, such as Jim Moran from Virginia, are getting uncomfortable with the White House attacks on opponents. From the Politico:

A White House effort to undermine conservative critics is generating a backlash on Capitol Hill — and not just from Republicans.

“It’s a mistake,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. “I think it’s beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”

Altmire was talking about the Obama administration’s efforts to undercut Fox News. But he said his remarks applied just the same to White House efforts to marginalize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobby targeted for its opposition to climate change legislation.

“There’s no reason to gratuitously piss off all those companies,” added another Democrat, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia. “The Chamber isn’t an opponent.” . . .

Just a thought: All this is the behavior of the "post-partisan" president? Does a "post-partisan" president put out an enemies list?

UPDATE: A little more information is available here:

A Fox News executive told the Huffington Post Saturday that the network "absolutely" did request an interview with Obama administration "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg and that the White House acknowledged a mistake on the part of a Treasury department staffer in failing to initially include Fox News in the round of interviews Feinberg conducted Thursday.
"Of course we requested an interview," Fox News Senior Vice President Michael Clemente told the Huffington Post.
This directly contradicts reports by the Associated Press and Talking Points Memo, both of which reported that the White House had excluded Fox News because it did not request an interview. . . .

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"Great-grandmother who shot robber says 'God was with me'"

A 70-year-old woman with a concealed handgun permit stops a robbery.

Great-grandmother who shot robber says 'God was with me'
Ironton woman not likely to be charged, police say
Thursday, October 22, 2009 7:40 PM

When an armed robber barged into a North Side motel room Wednesday night and ordered the six people there to the floor, he put a 70-year-old woman closer to her handgun.

The great-grandmother knelt between the beds, reached into her purse on the floor and pulled out her .357 Magnum pistol.

She fired one shot at the robber, who staggered from the room, collapsed in the parking lot and died.

"It's a wonder she didn't shoot us all," said her 51-year-old son, who was preparing to hand over his cash when he heard the gunshot. "She's the worst shot in the world.

"She said to me, 'God was with me tonight. You know I couldn't have done that myself.'"

None of the family members, who live in Ironton, wanted to be identified, fearing retaliation; and the woman didn't want to be interviewed. They have moved to a different room in the motel.

"She's torn all to pieces," her son said. "Who would ever want to shoot someone?"

Wayne Winston, 25, died of a single gunshot wound in the chest, Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak said yesterday. Police listed his address as "streets of Columbus."

The woman has a permit to carry a concealed gun, her son said, and carries the gun she inherited from her late husband. . . . .

Thanks very much to Daniel O'Carroll for this link.

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New Fox News piece: LOTT'S NUMBERS: Unemployment Rising Faster In the U.S. Than Other Countries

My newest piece at Fox News starts off this way:

The Obama administration claims that it was their passage of massive government spending that saved the United States from another Great Depression. Last week, Larry Summers, Obama's top economic adviser,claimed that because of the stimulus:

"We have walked a substantial distance back from the economic abyss and are on the path toward economic recovery. Most importantly, we have seen a substantial change in the trend of job loss."

And Vice President Biden declared at the end of September:

"In my wildest dreams, I never thought it [the stimulus] would work this well."

As President Obama and other Democrats have correctly pointed out many times, this has been a worldwide recession. But if Summers and Biden are right in their assessment of the stimulus measures, one would think that the U.S. economy should be recovering better the many other countries, countries not wise enough to follow Obama's lead of an extraordinary $787 billion increase in government spending. It is also particularly timely to evaluate the spending since Christina Romer, the chairwoman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, told Congress today that the stimulus had already had most of its impact on the economy.

Take Canada. Their stimulus package was nowhere as extensive as ours. Their $22.7 billion in stimulus spending this year, and $17.2 billion next year, amounts to about 7.5 percent of their federal spending for their 2009 and 2010 budgets -- not much more than a third of the per-capita stimulus spending in the United States.

Has Canadian unemployment climbed higher than than ours because of their relative inaction? Hardly. . . . .

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Obama does commercials for George Lopez

The George Lopez tonight show is scheduled to beginning airing in a couple weeks on November 9th. This ad might have been taped during the campaign last year, but it is now being used while Obama is president. It seems a little strange that a sitting president would do an ad for a TV show.


Dept of Justice claims Blacks aren't smart enough to figure out who to vote for unless politicians are labeled by party

From the Washington Times:

Voters in this small city decided overwhelmingly last year to do away with the party affiliation of candidates in local elections, but the Obama administration recently overruled the electorate and decided that equal rights for black voters cannot be achieved without the Democratic Party.

The Justice Department's ruling, which affects races for City Council and mayor, went so far as to say partisan elections are needed so that black voters can elect their "candidates of choice" - identified by the department as those who are Democrats and almost exclusively black.

The department ruled that white voters in Kinston will vote for blacks only if they are Democrats and that therefore the city cannot get rid of party affiliations for local elections because that would violate black voters' right to elect the candidates they want. . . .

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New Washington Times pieces


Democrat trick to reduce cost of health care regulations defeated in Senate

The New York Times has this:

Democrats lost a big test vote on health care legislation on Wednesday as the Senate blocked action on a bill to increase Medicare payments to doctors at a cost of $247 billion over 10 years. . . .

By addressing doctors’ fees in a separate bill, Senate Democrats could hold down the cost of the broader health legislation, keeping it within the limits set by President Obama. House Democrats are considering a similar tactic. Republicans said it was a transparent ploy to hide the cost of a health care overhaul.

Democrats had hoped that by passing the Medicare bill they could appease doctors and secure their support for the broader legislation. . . .

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Majority of gun owners think that Obama will try to ban guns during his presidency

I can only imagine if the poll had asked whether people think that Obama will try to ban some types of guns, that the percentages would be extremely high. The Gallup Survey is available here.

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Government will cut the annual salaries of their 25 best-paid executives in firms getting bailouts by an average of about 90 percent

Pretty amazing. The government forced many of these institutions to take the bailout and then the can tell the firms how to be run.

Responding to the growing furor over the paychecks of executives at companies that received billions of dollars in the government’s financial rescue, the Obama administration will order the companies that received the most aid to deeply slash the compensation to their highest paid executives, an official involved in the decision said on Wednesday.

Under the plan, which will be announced in the next few days by the Treasury Department, the seven companies that received the most assistance will have to cut the annual salaries of their 25 best-paid executives by an average of about 90 percent from last year. Their total compensation — including bonuses and retirement contributions — will drop, on average, by about 50 percent. . . .

Here is a story that the seven firms that have gotten the most bailout money will face these largest cuts. How the number seven was arrived at is not obvious nor is there a statement about how large the cuts will be at other firms.

The seven companies are: Bank of America Corp., American International Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler and Chrysler Financial. . . .

The DJIA went from being up by about 40 to falling down 92.

Stocks sold off late Wednesday after Wall Street learned that Washington would restrict executive pay at companies receiving bailout funds . . . .

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Ron Bloom: Obama's senior counselor for manufacturing policy

From the Washington Post on September 8th:

President Obama on Monday announced his selection of Ron Bloom as senior counselor for manufacturing policy.

Speaking at an AFL-CIO picnic in Cincinnati, the president introduced Bloom, who has been a senior adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner as part of the auto industry task force since February. Bloom, a Harvard Business School graduate, previously advised the United Steelworkers union and worked as an investment banker.

"As my new point person on manufacturing, he's going to help us craft the policies that will create the next generation of great manufacturing jobs and ensure American competitiveness in the 21st century," Obama said.

Bloom will work with the National Economic Council to develop and plan policy for Obama's efforts to revitalize U.S. manufacturing, the White House said. He will retain his position on the auto task force. . . .

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"Marginalize most powerful critics"

Even Politico couldn't be much more clear. This is straight out of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. It is surprising and disappointing that Politico doesn't mention the Alinsky's influence.

President Obama is working systematically to marginalize the most powerful forces behind the Republican Party, setting loose top White House officials to undermine conservatives in the media, business and lobbying worlds.

With a series of private meetings and public taunts, the White House has targeted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the biggest-spending pro-business lobbying group in the country; Rush Limbaugh, the country’s most-listened-to conservative commentator; and now, with a new volley of combative rhetoric in recent days, the insurance industry, Wall Street executives and Fox News.

Obama aides are using their powerful White House platform, combined with techniques honed in the 2008 campaign, to cast some of the most powerful adversaries as out of the mainstream and their criticism as unworthy of serious discussion.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs has mocked Limbaugh from the White House press room podium. White House aides limited access to the Chamber and made top adviser Valerie Jarrett available to reporters to disparage the group. Everyone from White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has piled on Fox News by contending it’s not a legitimate news operation.

All of the techniques are harnessed to a larger purpose: to marginalize not only the individual person or organization but also some of the most important policy and publicity allies of the national Republican Party. . . . .

So is the strategy working? White House officials point to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll to argue the answer is emphatically yes. Only 20 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as Republicans, the lowest in 26 years of asking the question.

As bad as that number is, the news about independents is arguably worse. A staggering 83 percent of all independents surveyed said they don’t trust Republicans to make the right decisions.
. . . .

NOTE: I don't believe these last poll numbers, but the administration obviously has no problem pointing to them and Politico also doesn't mind using them uncritically. Hugh Hewitt has a useful discussion of the poll numbers here.

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White House continues to try to "delegitimize" Fox News

So the ACORN scandal wasn't a news story? Well, from the way even many liberal Democrats in Congress responded, it seems that a lot of people thought that there was news here. The WH apparently disagrees. Too bad that the media isn't reacting more strongly.

A White House attempt to delegitimize Fox News – which in past times would have drawn howls of censorship from the press corps – has instead been greeted by a collective shrug.

That’s true even though the motivations of the White House are clear: Fire up a liberal base disillusioned with Obama by attacking the hated Fox. Try to keep a critical news outlet off-balance. Raise doubts about future Fox stories.

But most of all, get other journalists to think twice before following the network’s stories in their own coverage.

"We're doing what we think is important to make sure news is covered as fairly as possible," a White House official told POLITICO, noting how the recent ACORN scandal story started because Fox covered it “breathlessly for weeks on end.”

“And then you had a couple days of breast-beating from The Washington Post and The New York Times about whether or not they were fast enough on the ACORN story,” the official said. “And it's like: Wait a second, guys. Let's make sure that we keep perspective on what are the most important stories, and what's being driven by a network that has a perspective. Being able to make that point has been important.”

To some media observers, it’s almost the definition of a “chilling effect” – a governmental attempt to steer reporters away from negative coverage – but the White House press corps has barely uttered a word of complaint. . . .

UPDATE: President Obama added more fuel to the fire.

President Obama spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday about his administration's portrayal of Fox News as an illegitimate news organization -- only to say he's not "losing sleep" over the controversy.

Obama, in an interview with NBC, at first attempted to deflect a question about the White House's criticism of Fox News, saying "the American people are a lot more interested in what we're doing to create jobs or how we're handling the situation in Afghanistan."

The interviewer then pressed, noting that Obama's advisers have targeted the network openly.

"I think that what our advisers simply said is, is that we are going to take media as it comes," Obama said. "And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that's one thing. And if it's operating as a news outlet than that's another. But it's not something I'm losing a lot of sleep over."

Several top White House advisers have gone on other channels to criticize Fox News' coverage of the administration, dismiss the network as the mouthpiece of the Republican Party and urge other news organizations not to treat Fox News as a legitimate news station.

And on Tuesday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said White House officials "render (that) opinion based on some their coverage and the fairness of that coverage." . . . .

Further UPDATE: Obama couldn't let this go on Wednesday.

President Obama spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday about his administration's portrayal of Fox News as an illegitimate news organization -- only to say he's not "losing sleep" over the controversy.

Obama, in an interview with NBC, at first attempted to deflect a question about the White House's criticism of Fox News, saying "the American people are a lot more interested in what we're doing to create jobs or how we're handling the situation in Afghanistan."

The interviewer then pressed, noting that Obama's advisers have targeted the network openly.

"I think that what our advisers simply said is, is that we are going to take media as it comes," Obama said. "And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that's one thing. And if it's operating as a news outlet than that's another. But it's not something I'm losing a lot of sleep over."

Several top White House advisers have gone on other channels to criticize Fox News' coverage of the administration, dismiss the network as the mouthpiece of the Republican Party and urge other news organizations not to treat Fox News as a legitimate news station. . . .

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Interesting interactive graphics job gains and losses in large metropolitan areas in Canada and US

The only places that seems to be have any job growth are some parts of Canada and the very Southern part of Texas. The US has had a much bigger stimulus, but has had a much bigger percentage drop in jobs.

Here is also an interactive that shows the change in state unemployment rates over time. See also here for the exact numbers by state.

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More stimulus spending associated with bigger increases in unemployment?

The simple regression result can be seen here. Robust standard errors are reported.

Data on government expenditures are available from here and here as well as Obama administration's "The Effects of Fiscal Stimulus: A Cross-country Perspective." While some of the Obama administration's estimates of Fiscal Stimulus as a percentage of GDP are questionable, we have used their estimates with the exception of Canada and Sweden. Using the Obama administrations estimated values for those two countries doesn't change the sign of the coefficient, though it does reduce its size to 0.23.

I used the latest unemployment and stimulus spending data to see if the states with the most stimulus dollars had done particularly well on the unemployment front.

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How unemployment rates have changed across countries this year

Wouldn't the Obama administration claim that the huge increase in government spending in the US have given us a smaller increase in unemployment?

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CDC is going back to studying gun control issues

The CDC doesn't have what one would call a balanced perspective on gun control issues. This increase in government funding will be just the beginning of the lobbying effort to convince people that guns are bad.

"Gun related violence is a public health problem - it diverts considerable health care resources away from other problems and, therefore, is of interest to NIH," Don Ralbovsky, NIH spokesman, wrote in an e-mail responding to questions about the grants.

Note that they don't talk about the possible lives saved or injuries prevented.

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Explanation for why Apple sets up exclusive contract with networks

From Apple Insider:

Cook also answered a question about what advantage there was in setting up exclusive agreements with carriers by saying, "In an exclusive relationship you can test some level of innovation that would be more difficult to do with several carriers. Visual Voicemail was an example of that in the initial iPhone."

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Obama administration continuing to use false numbers about how concentrated the insurance industry is

For an explanation why the claims in the middle of this clip about how concentrated the insurance industry is are wrong, please see this.

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Fox News has nice poll graphics showing Obama's popularity over time

While Obama started off appreciably higher than George W. Bush, by July and August Bush had gone slightly ahead. The polling information is available here.

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Democrats David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel argue that their decision to try freezing out Fox News is fine since Fox isn't a news organization

For an administration that is strictly regulating the media, it seems a little dangerous for them to start talking about what they think is news and not news. Notice that they are still refusing to let administration people appear as guests on Fox.

"I’m not concerned," Axelrod said on ABC's "This Week" when George Stephanopoulos asked about the back-and-forth between the White House and Fox News, founded by Rupert Murdoch.

"Mr. Murdoch has a talent for making money, and I understand that their programming is geared toward making money. The only argument [White House communications director] Anita [Dunn] was making is that they’re not really a news station if you watch even — it’s not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming.

"It’s really not news — it’s pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way. We’re going to appear on their shows. We’re going to participate but understanding that they represent a point of view.”

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Fox "is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."

"It’s not so much a conflict with Fox News," Emanuel told John King. "I suppose the way to look at it and the way … the president looks at it, we look at it is: It’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective. And that’s a different take. And more importantly, is not have the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization …

On "Fox News Sunday," anchor Chris Wallace said the White House had declined to provide a guest.

A useful analysis of the claims made by the administration this weekend are here.

UPDATE: More attacks on Fox News by Obama Administration.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday pointed to two top-rated opinion shows on Fox News as the reason why the Obama administration has castigated the network as an illegitimate news organization.

Gibbs weighed in on the controversy after several top White House advisers have gone on other channels to criticize Fox News' coverage of the administration, dismiss the network as the mouthpiece of the Republican Party and urge other news organizations not to treat Fox News as a legitimate news station.

Gibbs said White House officials "render (that) opinion based on some their coverage and the fairness of that coverage."

But asked how Fox News was different from other news organizations, Gibbs mentioned the channel's 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows, in an explicit reference to "Beck" and "Hannity" -- even though those two shows represent opinion programming.

Informed that those hours are for opinion programming, Gibbs said: "That is our opinion."

Michael Clemente, senior vice president of news for Fox News, issued a statement Tuesday defending the company.

"Hundreds of journalists come to work each day at Fox News all deeply committed to their craft. It's disappointing that the White House would be so dismissive of their fine work and continue their vengeful war against a news organization," he said.

The White House also appeared to stand by its effort to urge other networks to isolate and alienate the channel. Gibbs said Tuesday that it's up to the White House Correspondents Association to decide whether Fox News should continue to be part of the White House pool which covers President Obama. . . .

Transcript of White House Press Briefing is available here.

The most bizarre statement by the Obama people is the concern that other media will follow Fox's lead. It appears that they are more concerned about Fox actually doing its job and investigating issues.

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Apparently extending large parts of the "stimulus" isn't a stimulus

From Fox News:

If it looks, feels and sounds like a stimulus, then is it a stimulus?

Democrats say no. They call their growing list of proposed economic relief efforts an extension of Obama's original $787 billion stimulus package, passed by Congress earlier this year with minimal Republican support.

But the price tag for these new proposals is adding up.

Democrats are considering extending unemployment and health benefits, as well as extending and perhaps expanding a popular tax credit for first-time home buyers and creating a new credit for companies that add jobs.

Extending unemployment benefits through 2010 would cost about $100 billion, according to the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

It's unknown exactly how much it would cost to extend subsidies for laid-off workers to help them keep the health insurance their former employers provided, known as COBRA. That's because congressional leaders haven't settled on the length of an extension, or how to pay for it. But the current program, which covers workers laid off through the end of the year, costs nearly $25 billion.

Extending the homebuyer tax credit to next summer would cost about $16.7 billion, economists say. It's not clear how much the employer tax credit would cost. But a similar proposal that was dropped from the first stimulus package had a cost of $19.5 billion.

President Obama also wants Congress to approve $250 payments to more than 50 million seniors to make up for no cost-of-living increase in Social Security next year. The total cost: $14 billion.

Taken together, the proposals could add up to nearly $200 billion, looking a lot like another economic stimulus package . . .

While searching the web, I came across these seven promises that the Obama administration broke with its first stimulus.

Broken Promises in Record Time
1. Make government open and transparent.

2. Make it "impossible" for Congressmen to slip in pork barrel projects.

3. Meetings where laws are written will be more open to the public. (Even Congressional Republicans shut out.)

4. No more secrecy.

5. Public will have 5 days to look at a bill.

6. You’ll know what’s in it.

7. We will put every pork barrel project online.

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Glenn Beck talks to Doctors about the Government Health Care Takeover

Obama campaign: "Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn't absolutely control"

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn: "Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn't absolutely control."
"Whether it was a David Plouffe video or an Obama speech, a huge part of our press strategy was focused on making the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to why the campaign was saying it, what the tactic was. … Making the press cover what we were saying."

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