You keep using that word … II. Recovery

When Bush was President the lamestream media kept talking about “recession” and yet now, with a handpicked media President in the Whitehouse, they talk about a recovery.  And yet some of the real statistics belie the idea that things are recovering–sure asset prices, except real estate, are up, but compare that to how many more people are on food stamps.

This post was inspired by this headline:
Global recovery fragile, uneven: IMF

Headlines that make laugh: Discerning the agenda behind the headline

I have started this  series of post, “Headlines that make laugh” to discuss how one might determine the quality of financial news, its biases and whether its judgments are based on anything like expertise or knowledge.  The questions I ask when I read the financial news are:

(1) How does the writer know or what is the basis of the claims that he makes?  Is he an expert?

(2) What are the writers biases?  Does he have an ax to grind?  Is he promoting a false narrative? (Such as” Obama saved Egypt from the tyrant Mubarek”)

Let’s consider this headline about Petrobakken which I follow because I own shares:

The headline focuses on a negative point and the Thomson Reuter’s article begins:  “Canada’s PetroBakken Energy Ltd said fourth-quarter production fell 9 percent due to operational delays and natural production declines from wells.”  Now this is interesting.  It is a negative headline, and one would assume that the author doesn’t like Petrobakken and he wants to see the shares plummet.  Perhaps his real agenda is a hatred of the Canadian oil industry, so he wants to bad mouth it.  Or perhaps, because the author of the Thomson Reuters article is the world’s export on petroleum companies, he’s decided to highlight the press release’s most salient point, cutting through all the crap in the report which was full of bewildering statistics, numbers and assertions.  So we really must congratulate Thomson Reuters for having such perceptive writers!

Many other headlines that I read focussed on something a teensy bit more positive (e.g., Marketwire):  “PetroBakken Replaces 274% of Production and Increases Reserves by 18% in 2010″, but of course, this headline is coming straight from the company press release, so this is the “propoganda” that the company wants to present, spinning bad news into good.  Or perhaps, the press release focuses on the 274% production replacement and 18% reserve, because these are the really important numbers which affect the long term prospects of the company.

Who knows?  In any case, the two headlines have two different effects on the reader:  One is intended to be decidedly negative with the intent of forcing the share price down; the other is decidedly positive whose authors hope to give the share price a boost.  The DIY investor must never discount bias in the sources of information at his disposal.  Many would say it is necessary to read between the lines of press releases and of course this is true.  But I wouldn’t put it past Thomson Reuters to attempt through their headlines to hurt the evil Canadian oil industry—what with their carbon footprint and oil sands which is “dirty oil”.  See what I mean?

Sarah Palin’s dead lake: her god-like ability to influence things before she was born

N.B.:  I was having this discussion at City of God with Sarah-Palin detractor who has taking aim at Craig Carter, a friend and one of my favorite bloggers. I was doing some research and found this:

Gov. Sarah Palin, former mayor of Wasilla, killed Lake Lucille.  This is according to piece by Salon’s founder David Talbot, covering the 2008 presidential campaign, “Sarah Palin’s dead lake: By promoting runaway development in her hometown, say locals, Palin has “fouled her own nest” — and that goes for the lake where she lives“);  as evidence, he cites a local assembly member:

“Lake Lucille is basically a dead lake — it can’t support a fish population,” said Michelle Church, a Mat-Su Valley borough assembly member and environmentalist. “It’s a runway for floatplanes.”

I grew up in Anchorage.  We passed Lake Lucille hundreds of times on our way to our cabin at Crooked Lake which is only about 30 minutes from Wasilla on South Big Lake Rd.  Assembly woman Michelle Church describes an all-too familiar scenario, a lake with lousy fishing, and suggests that that it is directly caused by float planes.  Our own Crooked Lake 40 years ago was by no means crowded with float planes; but the couple dozen families with cabins there fished it regularly with hardly any success.  Some lakes just don’t have good fishing.  We also used to fish Upper Russian Lake near Cooper Landing.  Now that was heaven for Rainbow Trout fishing.  Upper Russian Lake, situated between mountains is deep, cold and rocky, with little vegetation.  It avoided over-fishing because its access was by float plane or by a 12-mile hike through grizzly country.  Crooked Lake is warm and shallow with a lot of vegetation and sticklebacks, but trout only thrive in cold, highly oxygenated water.  One summer at Ontario’s Lake Opeongo I caught a 2 pound trout from my canoe but only after letting out hundreds of feet of line–I’ve never repeated that again.  Most summer trout fishing south of Alaska requires special rigging which holds the line 90 or so feet below the surface where the water is sufficiently cold.

Did Sarah Palin foul her nest (a distinctly misogynist slight) and make it impossible for fish to live in the lake?  Here is an excerpt from a 2009 article that explores a little bit of the history of the lake (Anchorage Daily News):

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has for several years called Lake Lucille an impaired water body because vegetation chokes the shallow pool and its decomposition robs the lake of oxygen.[snip]

According to an account published as part of a 1993 study by Anchorage engineering firm Hattenburg, Dilley and Linnell, rotenone, a poison, was added to the water in 1955 and 1963 to kill stickleback that had invaded the lake.

The treatments killed an estimated 25 million stickleback, along with 80,000 suckers, 450 rainbow trout and 235 silver salmon. A fish weir was added in the late 1960s to stabilize the lake levels and keep the stickleback population in check.

Measures have been taken to improve the lake’s water quality as well… [snip] But the lake is still choked by vegetation and doesn’t have enough dissolved oxygen.

Sarah Palin was apparently born in 1964, and her family doesn’t seem to have moved to Wasilla until 1972.  So she could be the cause of Lake Lucille’s death only if she has god-like powers to influence:

(1) the structure and nature of Lake Lucille, i.e., shallow with a lot of vegetation;

(2) events that occur before her alleged date of birth.

Perhaps she is an immortal alien from another planet or an überterrestial.  But it seems more likely that Salon founder David Talbot is not a journalist but a propagandist.  It took me less than five minutes of internet research to debunk his tendentious article.

A dishonest god : Obama Miscellany

Rush Limbaugh tells a joke:  What do God and Obama have in common?  God doesn’t have a birth certificate either.

I was at the Society of Biblical Literature last year in Boston and I met a childhood friend of one of my professors, who was being honored with a Festshrift.  The elderly gentleman, a longtime resident of Boston, found out I was from Alaska.  He then suddenly turned red-faced and angry.  “What’s wrong with you people?” He asked, “How can you have such a stupid woman as governor.  Are your brains frozen from the cold?”  I told him that I like very much Governor Palin and that our problem in Alaska is that when we are hungry, we have to go out and shoot something.  Then he went on to say how proud he was of Barack Obama because he was so intelligent, and he was just going to be such a good president.   Lee Carey, however, points out that Obama has a questionable work ethic, while others wonder aloud if he is just playing at being president.

Dreams of my Father Just some guy in my Neighborhood

Prof. Jack Cashill has followed up on his previous post at American Thinker with “Andersen Claims ‘Two Sources’ for Ayers’ Role in Dreams“.  He has interviewed the author and journalist Chris Anderson:

Andersen claims that the “hopelessly blocked” Obama turned to the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers to help him write his much acclaimed 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father.
When I asked about Andersen’s sources, Andersen said that he had two separate sources “within Hyde Park” but, understandably, would not elaborate.
Andersen, who was gracious throughout, insisted that he had made no claim that Ayers wrote Dreams but he did not deny Ayers’ deep involvement, conceding that Dreams is much the better book than Obama’s 2006 Audacity of Hope. This, of course, has to trouble the Obama acolytes who insist that Obama is a uniquely gifted writer.
Thomas Lifson concludes, as I have, that Obama has been unmasked as a fraud:

Now, thanks to Jack Cashill, the literary mask has been removed. Obama is a literary pretender. Case closed. The evidence is overwhelming that Bill Ayers ghost-wrote Dreams from my Father, the book which established Obama’s pose as a brilliant writer (and therefore a fine mind, in the estimation of many). The stylistic resemblance between the Dreams and Ayers’ work is stunning. Now we know, thanks to Chris Andersen’s new book,that Obama hit a brick wall trying to fulfill his contract to produce a book, and shipped off his notes and tapes to Ayers. That is the classic description of a ghost writer’s assignment. And it completely fits the theories Cashill had inferentially reasoned from the data of his literary studies.

Sarah Palin has finished her book, Going Rogue, early; unlike Obama, she has publicly acknowledged her use of a professional writer.  Yet the main stream media is still chanting the canard that Obama is a great writer.  Matthew Shaer writes:

Fair enough. November is holiday book-buying season, and Sarah Palin is a hot commodity. No reason to think Palin’s book won’t skyrocket to the top of the best-seller list. But let’s pause for a second: Did Palin really write “Going Rogue” all by herself? As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews noted back in May, “She’s got this book deal, she obviously is not gonna write it.”

Matthews was right. Palin had help.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that – unofficially, we’d estimate that 90 percent of the books published by politicians are heavily ghost-written. (A notable exception: Barack Obama, whose “Dreams from My Father” was considered by many critics to have real literary merit.) In Palin’s case, help came in the form of Lynn Vincent, a senior writer for the conservative Christian publication World Magazine.

Mr. Shaer, via the illustrious Chris Matthews, here implies that Palin has not been honest in acknowledging the use of a professional writer, as if that was ever in question; thus, he ironically tries to accuse her of the crime of which Barack I-actually-wrote-them-myself Obama is guilty.  Mr. Shaer writes for the Christian Science Monitor, but he obviously is a sub-par journalist, who is unaware that Prof. Jack Cashill has argued definitively that Bill Ayers had a major hand in ghost writing Dreams of my Father.  But don’t expect anyone in the mainstream media to deal with this story soon (except perhaps Glenn Beck), since they are incompetent.  The Associated Press will now even make up a quote out of whole cloth  if necessary to provide their tendentious version of the news.

Obamalatry Worshipping a Man
The Bible says that when Herod Agrippa was hailed by the crowd as a god, Immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and died “(Acts 12:23).  Yet many of Obama’s followers have become Obamalators.  Many noticed that there seemed to be a cult of Obama during the election, beginning with Oprah’s endorsement that he’s “the One”.  But this worship is intensifying in certain quarters, with public school children being taught to sing hymns to Obama and now a new video surfaced (hat tip Red State) in which a liturgy offers prayers to Obama (see below); Obama must reject this worship publically, lest he fall under the same divine punishment as Herod Agrippa.
And this meeting of the Gamaliel Foundation:

more about “Community Organizer Group Prays to Ob…“, posted with vodpod

More media malpractice: Reuters

Warner Todd Huston at Redstate has pointed out a Reuter’s article (screen shot) in which a member of the Taliban claims responsibility for the shootings yesterday in Binghamtom, New York.  Reports suggested that a certain Jiverly Voong (apparently a Vietnamese name) is the shooter responsibe for the attack.  Huston suggests that the article was politically motivated to undermine US efforts to fight terrorist with unmanned drones.  Whatever be the case, Reuters has reported a rumor that promotes terrorist propoganda without even attempting to verify the story. This is a serious breach of journalistic ethics (or are those two terms an oxymoron?).