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Well, the hoax did fit CNN’s Narrative of the 1%

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:27 pm - February 29, 2012.
Filed under: Media Bias,Occupy Wall Street

Some stories just seem to fit too perfectly into a media narrative.  Many of our Facebook friends recently posted a picture of a restaurant receipt where a banker supposedly left a 1% tip to waitress (on a $133 tab), telling her “To Get a Real Job.”   That 1% tip seemed was mighty convenient, given the #Occupy rhetoric of the 1%.

And, c’mon, what restaurant patron tells his server to get a real job?  Why would he want to spite someone who might be serving him.  Only credulous “leftists would believe,” as Jim Hoft put it, “that ‘rich’ bankers are this obnoxious and horrible.” Indeed.

As the Smoking Gun reports:

The restaurant receipt that a California banker purportedly used to denigrate a waitress–while also leaving her a one percent tip–was wildly “altered and exaggerated,” according to a spokesperson for the Newport Beach restaurant where the businessman supposedly dined earlier this month.

. . . .

The amount on the actual receipt is $33.54, Reagan said, not $133.54 as seen on the altered receipt. And while the tip on the online receipt claims that the server was left $1.33 (or one percent of the bill), the actual tip was $7 on the $33.54 tab.

Over at the Hot Air Green Room, blogger Howard Portnoy reminds us that it wasn’t just the Huffington Post that fell for the hoax.  One of his readers provided . . .

. . . this video of CNN’s holier-than-thou coverage of the story. It is definitely worth watching, if for no other reason than to revel in host Soledad O’Brien’s self-righteous indignation over a story that turned out to be bogus.

Well, it did fit that network’s narrative.

Post-partisan President Excludes House Republican Leader

Today, reports the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke

Obama held his first meeting with Republican leadership since the debt-ceiling fight last year — but Cantor was not invited. “The group was limited to only the top congressional leaders: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,” Politico reported today. “That left out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.”

Emphasis added.  First meeting with Republican congressional leaders in nearly six months?  And here, we hear about how regularly Republicans refuse to work with the president.  How can you work with a guy who won’t sit down and listen to your concerns?

ADDENDUM:  Bear in mind, this is the guy who didn’t bother to call Paul Ryan when that thoughtful Republican put forward some reform proposals.  As Michael Barone reports:

At one point [The New Yorker’s Ryan] Lizza does quote Obama writing on a memo, “Have we looked at any of the other GOP recommendations (e.g., Paul Ryan’s) to see if they make any sense?” Another president might have looked at Ryan’s proposals himself, or might even have called him on the phone.

So, when your Democratic friends rush to accuse the Republicans of refusing to work with Obama, ask them, why the Democrat has met so infrequently with Republican leadership.

UPDATE:  In December, Andrew Malcolm reported that “Obama, who cares so much about working constructively with opponents that he didn’t chat with the Senate GOP leader for nearly two years because he didn’t need to and that would take leadership.

Consumer prices up; household income down

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:27 pm - February 29, 2012.
Filed under: Economy

Like many of my friends and neighbors in Los Angeles, I have noticed that my grocery bill has increased in the pat year.  And yet, the official reading on inflation shows only a modest increase in prices.  Today at the Washington Examiner, Charlie Spiering provides a statistic which helps explain the discrepancy:

Every year the official Consumer Price Index is released demonstrating the average price hikes experienced Americans each year. Last year the CPI rose 3.1 percent, a seemingly modest hike by many standards.

But the American Institute for Economic Research has released an alternate index, narrowing the scope to items purchesed by the average consumer every month, leaving out “big-ticket items” like cars, computers, and furniture.

According to this index, the prices for everyday items like food, beverages, fuel, power, and prescription drugs have risen 8.1 percent in 2011.

So, it wasn’t just my imagination.  And it’s not just my grocery bill.

To many people, that increase seems even steeper. Since President Obama signed the “stimulus,” John Merline reports, “Median annual household income is about 7% below where it was in February 2009, according to the Sentier Research Household Income Index.”  (H/t: Powerline picks for Merline link.)

Of the Bushes and the ‘Burbs

Since the first year of the Obama administration, Michael Barone has identified two issues which could tip the 2012 election, the first, related to the policies at odds with the candidate’s strongest supporters in the 2008 election, the second, an increasing tendency of suburban voters to return to their (pre-1992) Republican roots.

As to the president’s strongest supporters, Barone observed in 2009 that “Democrats’ policies are not in sync” with younger voters, part of a generation

. . . accustomed to making its own choices and shaping its own world. They listen to their own iPod playlists, not someone else’s Top 40; they construct their own Facebook pages rather than enlisting in the official Elvis Fan Club.

At the same time, crediting “longtime Democratic pollster and political analyst Pat Caddell,” Barone pointed out that in the 2009 off-off-year elections, “affluent suburban voters moved sharply toward Republicans in 2009”.  And not just in the marquee gubernatorial contests that fall.  Republican candidates also did well in contests in the Philadelphia and New York suburbs.

Last night, the pundit native to Detroit offered his hunch that Romney’s success in that city’s suburbs has “implications. . . for the general election“:

Romney has shown in Michigan as elsewhere a capacity to win votes in affluent areas—which is exactly where (at least in the North) Republicans have been weak in presidential general elections over the last 20 years. Look at it this way: in 1988 George H. W. Bush carried the five-county metro Detroit area 50%-49%–a tiny margin, but one which enabled him, with a 56%-43% Outstate margin that was underwhelming in historic perspective, to carry Michigan. Similarly, the elder Bush, with big margins from affluent suburbanites, carried metro Boston, metro New York, metro Philadelphia, metro Cleveland and metro Chicago, which enabled him to win the electoral votes of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.

H.W.’s son never did as well as his Dad in metro Detroit. (more…)

Santorum Surge Subsides

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:18 am - February 29, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

In his victory last night in the Wolverine State, Mitt Romney won 72,000 more votes than he did just four years ago, upping his percentage from 38.92% of the vote then to 41.1% this year.  And this despite some stumbles in recent days — and a concerted Democratic attempt to get out the vote for his rival Rick Santorum.  Of the 9% of voters who identified as Democrats, Santorum beat Romney by a nearly 3-to-1 margin, 53% to 18%:

Romney won decisively among Republicans, 48 to 37 and narrowly among independents 35 to 34.  (Had no Democrats voted in the Republican primary, Romney would have won more decisively — with an 8-point margin.)

The state, in many ways, was a must-win for both candidates.  For Romney, because he had been born in the state.  And for Santorum, to show he could win in a contested primary after sweeping the beauty contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri earlier this month.  On one poll this month showed him up 15 points over Romney.  He lost by 3, an 18-point swing in two weeks.  The Santorum surge has subsided.

Turnout was up too.  And Ron Paul more than doubled his showing, from 54,475 in 2008 to 115,956 this year.  Seems that libertarian ideas have greater resonance in the Obama era.

Jennifer Rubin offers evidence that I may have been onto something yesterday (in a post referencing Romney’s rebuking Santorum for attempting to get Democrats to vote for their man):  the former Massachusetts governor “won by 38 to 31 percent over Rick Santorum [among] voters who made up their minds today, suggesting there may have been a backlash against Santorum’s robocalls to Democrats.(more…)

Nominations for the Watchers’ Council (Leap Year Day Edition)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:44 am - February 29, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Here are this week’s nominations:

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions (more…)

CNN fails to put US corporate tax rates in complete context

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:02 am - February 29, 2012.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Media Bias,Worthy Causes

The Cato Institute’s David Boaz caught something interesting on CNN:

President Obama and other policymakers have expressed concern about the high U.S. corporate tax rate, but this CNN chart shows that our rate isn’t too out of line with other countries. Indeed, CNN host Soledad O’Brien said to guest Jack Welch, “But when I look at the corporate tax rates around the world, we have a little graphic of this, I’ll throw it up. We see United States is at 35%, France is at 34%, Belgium at 33%, Spain at 30%, Japan at 30%, Mexico at 30%. It sounds like we’re kind of competitive, right?”

“America,” observed Boaz’s colleague Chris Edwards, the Institute’s Director of Tax Policy Studies

. . . is not “kind of competitive” on corporate taxes. Of the 34 high-income OECD countries, your graphics experts compared us with the 5 other countries that have the highest rates. (more…)

Gas up 40 cents in 2 weeks

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:00 am - February 29, 2012.
Filed under: Economy,LA Stories

Two weeks ago yesterday, one could buy a gallon of regular at the Shell Station on Fairfax & Beverly in Los Angeles (one of the cheapest places to fill up in Hollywood) for $3.93. Last night, the price was 40 cents higher: