Tom Blumer

Tom Blumer's picture
Contributing Editor


Tom Blumer has written for several national online publications  primarily on business, economics, politics and media bias. He has had his own blog, BizzyBlog.com, since 2005, and has been with NewsBusters since December 2005. Along the way, he's had a decades-long career in accounting, finance, training and development.

Latest from Tom Blumer

In an article (HT Jim Taranto at Best of the Web) describing Ireland's emergence as an European Union powerhouse ("Entrepreneurship Takes Off in Ireland"), reporter James Flanigan of the New York Times simply could not bring himself to specifically identify one of the main reasons for the country's success (bolds are mine):

Ireland is now alive with enthusiasm for entrepreneurs, who seemingly rank just below rock stars in popularity.

..... The relatively new emphasis on entrepreneurs in Ireland is the culmination of nearly four decades of government policies that have lifted the economy from centuries of poverty to modern prosperity.

The change began when Ireland entered the European Union in 1973. In subsequent years, the government rewrote its tax policies to attract foreign investment by American corporations, made all education free through the university level and changed tax rates and used direct equity investment to encourage Irish people to set up their own businesses.

“The change came in the 1990s,” said James Murphy, founder and managing director of Lifes2Good, a marketer of drugstore products for muscle aches, hair loss and other maladies. “Taxes and interest rates came down, and all of a sudden we believed in ourselves.”

So tax rates "changed," eh? And we learn in the next paragraph that "taxes and interest rates came down," as if by some external supernatural force.

Are you noticing a chronic case of word avoidance?



This is Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio):

MarcyKaptur0108

Last Thursday, she was at a House committee meeting (HT QandO) and started asking this guy some questions:

Ben_Bernanke0108

The guy is Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The problem is, this is what she asked:

The Ohio Democrat, at a House of Representatives Budget Committee hearing, said she wanted to know what Wall Street firms were responsible for the securitization of subprime mortgages.

She then asked: "Seeing as how you were the former CEO of Goldman Sachs ..." But the only person testifying at the hearing interrupted.

"No, no, no, you're confusing me with the Treasury Secretary," said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.



My my, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) is busy these days -- aiding and abetting those who wish to suppress the human right of free speech and expression.

Even though (or is it because?) the vehicle that enabled and emboldened the CHRC's thought police and those who complain to it was the passage of the kind of "non-discrimination" legislation Congress has considered passing for several years, US Old Media could care less.

Some of the CHRC's targets:

  • A Catholic magazine (also noted by NB's Tim Graham last month) --

    In February 2007 Rob Wells, a member of the Pride Center of Edmonton, filed a nine-point complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging that Catholic Insight had targeted homosexuals as a powerful menace and innately evil, claiming it used inflammatory and derogatory language to create a tone of “extreme hatred and contempt.”

    Catholic Insight responded to these charges in its January 2008 issue, saying the complaint consists of “three pages of isolated and fragmentary extracts from articles dating back as far as 1994, without any context.”

    ..... The magazine has continually emphasized that, with the respect to homosexual activity, it follows the guidance of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Although I doubt it will happen (yet), it seems "logical" that CHRC could say, "OK, you're right, the entire Catholic Church is engaged in 'extreme hatred and contempt.'"



About a week ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested in a UK Telegraph column that allowing hospitals to harvest organs from dead patients without their prior consent or their families' post-mortem consent might be a good idea.

Mr. Brown's occasion for bringing up the topic was telling, and perhaps explains why Brown's proposal got very little coverage in the US:

This year will be the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service: a year to celebrate and thank all the staff who run our hospitals, clinics and GP practices; but also a year in which to renew the NHS for the 21st century, because I believe that only by renewal can we make the NHS even more relevant for future decades than it has been in the past.

..... we may need to do more to encourage more of us to donate (organs. In Britain we have 14.9 million people on the organ donor register - which is around 24 per cent of the population. In terms of actual donors (not just people willing to give, but those whose organs are actually used) we have a rate of about 13 donors per million in our population. This compares with about 22 per million in France, 25 per million in America and around 35 per million in Spain - the best in the world.

That is why I want to start a debate in this country about whether we should take steps to move towards a new system designed to enable far more of us to benefit from transplant surgery - one that better reflects survey findings that around 90 per cent of us are in favour of organ donation.



This isn't The Onion; it's for real (HT Hot Air; bold after title is mine):

Sun, Jan. 13, 2008

Burke named executive director of ACLU in Texas

Terri Burke, former editor of the Abilene Reporter-News, has been named executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

Burke, 56, will begin work at the ACLU of Texas on Tuesday. Her duties will include lobbying, fundraising, administering the organization and communicating with the public.

Burke said her new job seems like a continuation of her work in the newspaper business.

"I wanted to be a journalist because I thought journalism was a way to further the democratic process," Burke said. "At its heart, journalism is about the First Amendment. All my life, I've been interested in those kinds of issues."

I will suggest that no one in Old Media will think of Burke's move as the least bit odd.

Funny, that's not how they saw it in 1998 when the late David Brinkley retired and became a spokesman for a large corporation.



Paul Krugman clearly isn't lacking in chutzpah.

His January 11, 2008 New York Times column ("The Comeback Continent"; HT Tom Maguire via Instapundit) is yet another in a seemingly endless series of attempts by economic statists to convince people in the US that we need to be more like Europe -- specifically Western Europe -- and less like the growth-driven, market-based capitalists that we still largely are.

Here is part of what Krugman wrote in a remarkably fact-free column:

.... tales of a moribund Europe are greatly exaggerated.

..... I don’t want to exaggerate the good news. Europe continues to have many economic problems. But who doesn’t? The fact is that Europe’s economy looks a lot better now — both in absolute terms and compared with our economy — than it did a decade ago.



Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS may go forward.

By omitting key facts of the original "Rathergate" story from his report Thursday, Associated Press Writer Samuel Maull managed to give the former CBS news anchor's contentions an appearance of credibility.

Here is how Maull's report began (HT Little Green Footballs; more permanent link to same story used here):

A judge said Wednesday that he was leaning toward allowing Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit over his being fired by CBS to proceed.

"I concluded there was enough in the complaint (by Rather) to continue with discovery (pretrial research)," state Judicial Hearing Officer Ira Gammerman said at a hearing on CBS' motion to dismiss the case.



Rush Limbaugh called out Old Media for playing favorites in the GOP presidential race. He was, as usual, dead-on correct.

Audio is at Hot Air.

The transcript, which will remain available at Limbaugh's site until next Friday, is here.

Here is the first portion of what he had to say (bold is mine):



The Treasury Department released its Monthly Treasury Statement for December this afternoon.

Though Uncle Sam did run a surplus last month, the year-to-date figures are alarming:

UStreasRecsDisbs1207

It should be pretty clear that the big news in the above figures is that federal spending during the first quarter of the fiscal year was almost 9% higher than during the first quarter a year ago. If the spending increase had been held to only 5%, this fiscal year's quarterly deficit would have come in virtually the same as last year's.

Yet it took these publications the following number of paragraphs to get to the year-to-date spending news:



In an article about the status of Massachusetts's health care system on January 6, Associated Press Writer Steve LeBlanc seemed to be auditioning for a spot at the BBC.

Until just a few years ago, when the cost, sanitation, treatment and other problems at the British National Health service (NHS) became so obvious that they could not be ignored, the BBC could be counted on to give glowing reports on the NHS, regardless of the reality.

LeBlanc's opening paragraphs, carried in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, could have been taken straight from 1990s-and-prior BBC missives:

Massachusetts is facing a daunting goal as it enters the second year of its grand experiment of extending health care coverage to nearly all citizens - reining in spiraling costs that could threaten the landmark law.

"The sustainability of reform depends on our ability to restrain or constrain or moderate the increase in costs," said Jon Kingsdale, executive director of the Health Insurance Connector Authority, which oversees the health care law.

"That's going to take a huge concerted effort by all players in the health care area," he added.

For Massachusetts residents deemed able to afford health care, but refuse, that means facing new monthly fines that could total as much as $912 for individuals and $1,824 for couples by the end of the year.



USA Today's Emily Bazar wrote a long article Wednesday ("Strict immigration law rattles Okla. businesses") on the early impact of Oklahoma's recently-passed immigration reform legislation, apparently now well-known as "1804," or "House Bill 1804, the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007, arguably the nation's toughest state law targeting illegal immigrants," which became effective November 1.

Bazar's report is dominated by plenty of downbeat anecdotes and dire warnings to relay to her readers from employers and others. Here are a few:

..... workers at the sprawling Greenleaf Nursery were prepping for deadly frosts. They needed to ship plants, erect greenhouses and bunch trees together to protect them against the cold.

But in late October, about 40 employees disappeared from the 600-acre nursery about an hour's drive from Tulsa. "Some went to Texas, some went to Arkansas," nursery President Randy Davis says. "They just left."

Why did the workers, all immigrants, flee? "Those states don't have 1804," Davis says.



I don't know how you top the example coming up for simultaneous outrage and doublespeak.

It's from Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press, covering Hillary Clinton's claim that Barack Obama -- known to yours truly as BOOHOO (Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama) -- is not a strong enough defender of abortion "rights."

You can't say that Ms. Pickler didn't come come up with a staunch, but also patently offensive, "defense":

During his eight years in the legislature, Obama cast a number of votes on abortion and received a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council for his support of abortion rights, family planning services and health insurance coverage for female contraceptives. He voted against requiring medical care for aborted fetuses who survive, a vote that especially riled abortion opponents.



I've said this before, but it merits saying again: We'll know that the news we're fed every day by the wire services, "newspapers of record," and TV networks is fair, accurate, and complete when those in search of the full picture no longer have to go to the editorials of the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily to fill in Old Media's yawning information and coverage gaps.

Among the latest pieces evidence that we're not there yet -- Thursday's IBDeditorials.com opinion piece, which had this news from Britain's National Health Service (NHS):

The British have found a way to shorten those long, annoying waits for care and lower the rising costs of their universal access system. They'll let patients take care of themselves.



The returns are in for car company sales, both for December and all of 2007 (first figure is December, second is for full year; sources are here, here, and here):

- GM: -4.4%, -6.0%
- Toyota: -1.7%, +3.1%
- Ford: -9%, -11.8%
- Chrysler: +2%, -3.1%
- Nissan: -2.4%, +4.8%
- Honda: flat, +2.8%

Toyota is listed second for a reason that would have been almost unthinkable three years ago (bolds are mine):

Ford Motor Co., in the midst of a restructuring, fell to No. 3 in U.S. auto sales last year, as Toyota Motor Corp. posted its 12th straight year of record U.S. sales and moved up to second place behind General Motors Corp.

Even though Ford held on to pickup leadership with its F-Series -- the nation's best-selling vehicle nameplate for 26 years and the best-selling truck for 31 years -- the company's Ford brand is no longer the nation's best-selling make (Note: Chevrolet now is -- Ed.).



NationalJournal.com has news (HT Instapundit) about the reality of the October 2006 Lancet report on civilian deaths in Iraq -- a report that was breathlessly and gullibly cited at the time by Old Media outlets and reporters (including David Brown here at the Washington Post).

Here is background for those unfamiliar with the original story:

Published by The Lancet, a venerable British medical journal, the study [PDF] used previously accepted methods for calculating death rates to estimate the number of "excess" Iraqi deaths after the 2003 invasion at 426,369 to 793,663; the study said the most likely figure was near the middle of that range: 654,965. Almost 92 percent of the dead, the study asserted, were killed by bullets, bombs, or U.S. air strikes. This stunning toll was more than 10 times the number of deaths estimated by the Iraqi or U.S. governments, or by any human-rights group.


Two years ago, Old Media, particularly the New York Times, and quite a few chronic sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome (but I repeat myself), attempted to hijack the Sago Mine tragedy in West Virginia before the wakes for the 12 dead miners were even held. They wanted to pin the catastrophe, totally without foundation, on the idea that the administration had created the conditions for the tragedy by starving the budget of the Mine Safety and Health Administration and by putting industry cronies who were deliberately lax in safety enforcement in charge.

The Times even tried to tie the tragedy to Hurricane Katrina, which had occurred a few months earlier.

The claims of negligence and pervasive deteriorating safety conditions were definitively debunked at these posts:

In short, yours truly and Bevan found that coal-mine deaths and injuries had been declining significantly during the previous four years; inspection hours had shown no indications of a safety letup; and the budget for MHSA had not been slashed.

So where is coal-mine safety, and mine safety in general, two years later?

Unfortunately, if you read the report published yesterday by the Associated Press's Tim Huber, you would think that nothing meaningful has happened:



The Associated Press's Mark Sherman, as noted by Jim Taranto at Best of the Web, "reports on a pending Supreme Court case in a way that seems to give both sides their due, but in substance does not."

Here are the first three paragraphs of Sherman's report (bolds are mine):

The dispute over Indiana's voter ID law that is headed to the Supreme Court in January is as much a partisan political drama as a legal tussle.

On one side are mainly Republican backers of the law, including the Bush administration, who say state-produced photo identification is a prudent measure intended to cut down on vote fraud. Yet there have been no Indiana prosecutions of in-person voter fraud — the kind the law is supposed to prevent.

On the other side are mainly Democratic opponents who call voter ID a modern-day poll tax that will disproportionately affect poor, minority and elderly voters — who tend to back Democrats. Yet, a federal judge found that opponents of the law were unable to produce evidence of a single, individual Indiana resident who had been barred from voting because of the law.



A subscription-only editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Monday propagated a carefully-worded whopper, but at least made a small change to the paper's insufferable 23-year "There Shall Be Open Borders" mantra (bolds are mine):

A recent paper by the Immigration Policy Center, an advocacy group, notes that "Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years repeatedly and consistently have found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native born." Today, immigrants on balance are five times less likely to be in prison than someone born here.

None of this is to argue that illegal immigration doesn't have costs, especially in border communities and states with large public benefits. In the post-9/11 environment, knowing who's in the country is more important than ever. That's an argument for better regulating cross-border labor flows, not ending them.

The Immigration Policy Center's use of 100 years averages things out quite a bit, doesn't it?



Erick at Red State reports that USA Today reporter Jill Lawrence distorted what she reported Saturday on a statement made by Fred Thompson to a Burlington, Iowa audience.

Here, per Erick, is how Thompson actually responded to the question, "Do you want to be President?" --

The first place, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t be doing this. I grew up in very modest circumstances. I left government and I and my family have made sacrifices to be sitting here today. I haven’t had any income for a long time because I figured to be clean, you’ve got to cut everything off. I was doing speaking engagements and I had a contract to do a tv show. I had a contract with ABC radio…and so forth. A man would have to be a total fool to do all those things and to be leaving his family which is not a joyful thing if he didn’t want to do it.

I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don’t do it. I want the people to have the best president they can have.

But here is what Lawrence posted:

Bill Theobald of Gannett News Service has been following Republican Fred Thompson around Iowa. In a dispatch today from Burlington, Bill quotes the former Tennessee senator as saying he doesn't like modern campaigning, isn't that interested in running for president and "will not be devastated" if he doesn't win.

This makes it appear as if Thompson is just going through the motions, doesn't it?



A hard-hitting subscription-only editorial in the Wall Street Journal today needs some reinforcement.

That's because Californians relying on Old Media for their news about the Golden State's dire financial situation are being conditioned to believe that only a tax increase will solve the state's problems.

The latest offering in that regard is a Field poll covered at the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle, headlined "Many voters think deficit fix will require higher taxes" and "Voters resigned to higher taxes to solve budget crisis," respectively. Those headlines conveniently obscure the fact that the margin of those believing that tax increases are necessary vs. those who think that the answer is totally in spending cuts is only 48%-43%.

Here is some of what the Journal had to say: