In a Wednesday story on food stamp program participation in West Virginia that is still being linked at Drudge this evening, Charleston Daily Mail writer Justin D. Anderson fell into the same trap reporters have been falling into for nearly a year, but later largely made up for it by acknowledging that the program is a supplement, and is not designed, or intended, to pay for all of its beneficiaries' food costs.

Here are paragraphs 1, 5, and 6 of Anderson's report:

Here we go again.

A March 22 Columbus Dispatch report by Catherine Candisky on increased Food Stamp usage in Ohio repeats the tired "$1 per meal for food" canard:

"Food stamps provide only about $1 per person, per meal. Who in the world is buying groceries with that?" asked Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Bank.

On average, food stamps are now providing less than two weeks of groceries.

"There's the presumption that folks have the cash to make up the rest. Well, they don't" .....

Sigh. As noted time, and time, and time, and time again, the benefits (called "Maximum Allotments" by the government) for families with no other resources are higher (graphic link is to related page at the USDA web site):

On Sunday’s "60 Minutes," anchor Morley Safer did a segment on Demark being ranked the happiest country in world consistently for the past three decades and wondered: "What makes a Dane so happy? And why isn't he wallowing in misery and self doubt like so many of the rest of us?" Later in the segment, Safer discovered that low expectations of the Danish people was the key to their happiness and he concluded that:

Wanting it all is a bacterium that stays with us from youth to old age -- wanting a bigger house, fancier car, more stuff. And when we get more, there's always someone with even more stuff who's just as unhappy. Some suggest that the unhappiest zip codes in the country are the wealthiest, like the Upper East Side of New York.

It’s interesting that many liberal media figures reside in New York’s Upper East Side.

Barely four years after California's historic recall of sitting Governor Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger's landslide election to replace him, the Golden State is, again, in a budget crunch of its own making.

Oh, it's not as bad as the Gray days -- yet. The $35 billion budget deficit Davis papered over long enough to win reelection in 2002 over Bill Simon, with the help of the state's ignorant and non-inquisitive news media, is 2-1/2 times higher than the $14 billion gap the state is facing over the next 18 months.

The state's Old Media, as would be expected, is moaning about cuts that might have to be made, obsessing over the possibility that "universal health care" might be derailed, and of course giving visibility to anyone and everyone who thinks even more taxes will solve the problem.

As has been the case for well over a decade, nobody that I know of in California's Old Media is considering the idea that the state is paying the price for failing to sufficiently go along with the rest of the country in aggressively reducing welfare rolls. But the numbers support the idea that if the state had done what the rest of the country has "somehow" done without visible suffering, it would be in a much better situation.

(A table and graphs illustrating the situation are after the jump.)

As Republican primary campaign slogans go, "Endorsed by Frank Rich!" might not be a candidate's strongest play. But for better or worse Mike Huckabee is essentially stuck with it after Rich's NYT's column of yesterday. The ostensible theme of "The Republicans Find Their Obama" is that Republican voters are leaning toward Huckabee for the same reasons that Dems are trending to Obama: that both men are relatively young, speak across racial lines, are witty and avoid hyper-partisanship.

But dig down a bit deeper, and it appears that Huckabee's real appeal for Rich is that, social issues aside, he is the most liberal of the GOP frontrunners. Making his case for Huckabee, Rich goes so far to dabble in Christian theology [emphasis added]:

What's another $1 trillion here and there among friends - especially when it promotes a leftist agenda?

Throwing around a big number like that obviously isn't a problem for one liberal executive. Woody Tasch, the chairman of Investors' Circle wrote in the November 15 Christian Science Monitor that since we can spend money on Iraq, we can spend $1 trillion over five years for socialist causes.

In an interview with obscure Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Sunday’s "Face the Nation," host Bob Schieffer asked the Texas Congressman: "What is it that you see that the government ought to do besides deliver the mail?" This followed Schieffer’s description of Paul’s limited government philosophy:

Well, let me -- I want to just get your take on what you think the government ought to do. You've already said your anti-war. We know you're anti-abortion. You're anti-drug administration. You're anti-Medicare. I wrote all this down. Let's see. You're anti-income tax. You want to do away with that. You're anti-United Nations. You're anti-World Bank. You're anti-International Monetary Fund. And there must be some other things that you're against.

OVERVIEW: An underappreciated accomplishment of the past six years has been the continued reduction in the number of people on welfare.

The welfare caseload, after declining dramatically in the first four years after Welfare Reform was enacted, might have been expected to level off, or even rise slightly with overall population growth, after the initial impact of the 1996 law wore off.

After all, the reduction in the number of welfare recipients during the 1990s was stunning. From a peak of over 14 million in 1994, and over 12.5 million at the end of 1996 (over 4.5 million families) when the new took effect, the number of those receiving welfare came tumbling down to about 5.5 million by the end of 2000 — a decline of nearly 2 million per year.

I’m not sure that anyone expected the numbers to steadily fall after the first four years of reform, but that is exactly what has happened. Here are the details for families and recipients on welfare as of the end of each calendar year beginning with the turn of the century (000s omitted):

David Herszenhorn's front-page "Political Memo" for Wednesday's New York Times was devoted to the fight over Graeme Frost, the boy pushed forward by the Democrats to deliver the response to Bush's weekly radio address on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP).

On Friday’s "Good Morning America," for the fourth time this year, the ABC program skewered America for not being generous with paid leave and openly lobbied viewers to support a Democratic, big government initiative. After lumping the U.S. in with countries such as Liberia and Lesotho, as being one of only five countries that don’t provide paid maternity leave, GMA contributor Tory Johnson appeared with Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to promote his legislation.

"First and most important is to make your voice heard, Johnson exclaimed. Openly advocating this government expansion, she added, "On the GMA website, we have links to all the senators’ and congressmen’s offices. Call them. E-mail them. Let them know where you stand." Would GMA promote legislation for family friendly television that a Republican presidential candidate was sponsoring? Also, there was almost no mention of the expensive cost of providing eight weeks of paid maternity leave and how that would effect the U.S. taxpayer. Instead, co-host Robin Roberts mentioned that unpaid leave is already available and wondered, "What's stopping the government from making the law truly family friendly?" Johnson alternatively described paid leave as "government’s relief" and "great benefits" without much consideration of where these "benefits" are coming from.

The New York Times is outraged: not enough New Yorkers are on welfare. Government needs to take an "aggressive approach" to pumping up the number of people on the dole. That's the gist of the Times editorial this morning, "Why the Hungry Refuse Help."

The Times' recycles findings from the left-wing "Urban Justice Center" [emphasis added]: