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It seems that Michelle’s additional questions to the AP regarding the now-underground Jamil Hussein/ Jamil Gholaiem Hussein / Jamail Hussein / Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim will continue to go unanswered for the moment, since she received the verbose response: “I have no additional information for you at this time.”

Thanks to the AP for clearing everything up.

On the ‘fake but accurate’ vein, Patterico wonders if the truth even matters anymore to people.

Meanwhile, there is a very funny piece over at WuzzaDem: Who Should You Believe - AP or Bloggers?. Nicely done! (H/T: Confederate Yankee)

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Don’t you know? The economy is terrible! Stock Market is up, consumer prices down, unemployment lower, oil prices far reduced over the summer. Isn’t that awful?

Monday the Associated Press released a story which ran in papers under a number of fairly depressing headlines:

  • Democrats Favored When Economy Uncertain [Editor’s Note: can someone please explain exactly when the economy is ever ‘certain’?]
  • Economic uncertainties give Democrats a boost
  • Democrats can handle economy better, poll suggests
  • Voters favor Democrats in handling uncertain economy
  • Democrats Favored Amid Uncertain Economy
  • Economic jitters benefit Dems.

I know that the writers are not the same people who write the headlines. But these don’t even seem to connect fully to the story. Anyway, once more, this is a story primarily reporting the results of an opinion poll. Regardless of the topic of the poll, this is something that immediately rubs me the wrong way. I don’t particularly care what a majority of 300 Americans care about on any topic, and I especially resent it being reported as “news”. I can see why it’s a favorite of reporters, however. You neither have to dig for facts nor do research. The whole “story” is about what some people “feel”. So you can throw in whatever other collection of loosely related thoughts you’d like along with the poll results. It’s not like anyone can correlate the information anyway.

In this case, the central theme of the article by Jeannine Aversa: “With the Nov. 7 elections looming, 59 percent of voters believe Democrats would do a better job handling the economy, while 39 percent prefer Republicans _ the party that controls Congress and the White House.”

The data from this poll are not yet available, so we can really not see much more about the poll questions or responses other than what was reported in this article. Despite what the headline writers seem to be suggesting, it doesn’t seem that the respondants necessarily thought the economy was “uncertain”. But just that Democrats would do a better job. Somehow.

“Wait a second!” you say. “Didn’t the Dow cross 12,000 just today?” Well, there’s an easy answer to the fact that times are good. Just look for bad stuff to come in the future!

Never mind that gasoline prices have started dropping, that the value of their 401(k)s rises with each new Dow Jones industrial average record, and that the interest rates on their credit cards and adjustable mortgages have leveled off for now.

“Even though the economy is doing well by some indicators, voters are still nervous about the economy,” said Costas Panagopoulos, a political science professor at Fordham University.

“They watched gas prices come down but watched them go up just as precipitously not too long ago. The stock market is doing well but that doesn’t mean it can’t come crashing down in days. Voters are reluctant to be overly confident about economic trends,” he said.

We’re left to wonder how Dr. Panagopoulos is able to know about the nervous nature of the American voter. It’s a wonder they aren’t more nervous after hearing his “glass-half-empty” worries: the stock market might crash and gas prices might shoot up again. He forgot to mention that fear, famine, plague, and pestilence might become pervasive throughout the Midwest just before Christmas.

I sure don’t know how these 741 voters came to answer the questions about the economy in this way. Maybe a better story would be to find out exactly why people feel this way in light of all of the positive economic conditions.

But the general population shouldn’t be concerned that economic pessimism and wealth-envy is spread by Democratic leadership:

“The Dow is up, but people’s retirements are less secure than ever. This economy is making the super rich richer, and leaving middle-class American families further behind,” countered House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Democrats: Rooting for economic problems… and shouting “the sky is falling” (or maybe it will be someday soon).

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Let’s compare and contrast two reports appearing today for just a minute:

(1) Associated Press. Today’s report: AP learns Gitmo guards brag of beatings. The story: woman in bar in California gets chatted up for an hour by some guys (not in uniform) saying they were former guards at Gitmo and told stories of ” ‘abuse towards the detainees’ that included hitting them, denying them water and ‘removing privileges for no reason.’ ” Of course, this accusation can only be countered by the Navy condemning any abuse of prisoners and promising to cooperate with the Inspector General in following up the complaint. File this under “So, when did you stop beating your wife” stories.

(2) Blog. Patterico’s excellent five-part interview with “Stashiu”, a psychiatric nurse who was stationed at Gitmo. The story: The treatment of the detainees and the detainees’ treatment of guards as relayed by first-hand experience. Everything might not always be perfect, but the professionals and guard force work hard to protect themselves and the detainees.

I guess it’s up to you to decide who does the better job of reporting about the conditions at Gitmo.

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It sems pretty cut & dried - photographs for the purposes of telling the news should not be manipulated. But in the age of digital technology… it must just be too hard to resist. Telling a story (not *the* story, but some story) is more important than just taking a picture.

There is plenty of justifiable outrage over Reuters using a doctored image since LGF busted them over phony smoke rising from buildings in Beruit. Subsequently, at least one more photo if Isreali jet fighter was shown to be manipulated. And who knows how many more. In this case the furor was enough (and the fake was blatant enough), that Reuters was forced to part ways with the photog in question… and give some lame excuse about how it happened.

The uproar is justified. If only it were the first time and Reuters learned from the mistake.

I am not a student of image manipulation bru-ha-ha’s, but there have been several in recent memory:

And I’m sure there are many more that I don’t remember well. Each time it comes up there is a furor, a half-hearted apology and lame excuse, and then we all forget.

How many more manipulated images get through undiscovered?

It’s bad enough when we have to speculate whether situations have been staged, or whether the editor has chosen the most unflattering picture of someone on purpose… but there must be some accountability.

When will some organization agree to make available un-retouched images in their original form and timestamp for inspection? Don’t they demand that themselves?

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As the TV news-readers continue to respond to a summer heatwave by connecting it to global warming, the causual observer can be excused for not realizing that there’s more to the “global warming” discussion than it might seem. Intellectual Conservative’s An even more Inconvenient Truth: The Myth of Man-Made Global Warming has the most well-written summary of the global warming phenomenon and the “science” that backs it up. It’s a must read!

“Despite building thousands of factories that spew massive volumes of heat and countless tons of noxious elements into the atmosphere, or man’s penchant for paving over wetlands and clear-cutting forests, human beings are merely spectators in the process of global climate change. Interested spectators yes, and spectators who can certainly affect isolated, highly focused environmental changes by building a dam here or setting off a nuclear bomb there, but a spectator nevertheless. One medium-sized volcanic eruption has more impact on the Earth’s climate than a few million SUVs or a thousand or two rust-belt factories operating at full capacity, despite what little Johnny’s teacher told him during last year’s Earth-Day celebration.”

The essential question being asked is “How do you know?”

It’s an absolute must-read!

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As the horse continues to be beaten on the subject of Hurricane Katrina, NewsBusters summarizes the latest round-up from Popular Mechanics magazine - Debunking Katrina Myths. Very interesting wrap up on seven topics:

  1. MYTH: “The aftermath of Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history.”–Aaron Broussard, president, Jefferson Parish, La., Meet the Press, NBC, Sept. 4, 2005 FACT: The government responded rapidly. “One of the biggest reminders from Katrina is that FEMA is not a first responder.”
  2. MYTH: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event.”–New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, press conference, Aug. 28, 2005. FACT: Katrina wasn’t a superstorm.
  3. MYTH: “Perhaps not just human error was involved [in floodwall failures]. There may have been some malfeasance.”–Raymond Seed, civil engineering professor, UC, Berkeley, testifying before a Senate committee, Nov. 2, 2005 FACT: Flood walls were built properly
  4. MYTH: “They have people … been in that frickin’ Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people.”–New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Sept. 6, 2005 FACT: Anarchy didn’t take over.
  5. MYTH: “The failure to evacuate was the tipping point for all the other things that … went wrong.”–Michael Brown, former FEMA director, Sept. 27, 2005 FACT: Evac plans worked. “Later investigations indicated that many who stayed did so by choice. “Most people had transportation,” says Col. Joe Spraggins, director of emergency management in Harrison County, Ala. “Many didn’t want to leave.” Tragic exceptions: hospital patients and nursing home residents.
  6. MYTH: “We will rebuild [the Gulf Coast] bigger and better than ever.” –Haley Barbour, Miss. Gov., The Associated press, Sept. 3, 2005 FACT: Government subsidies encourage bad planning.
  7. MYTH: “You have a major energy network that is down … We could run out of gasoline or diesel or jet fuel in the next two weeks here.”–Roger Diwan, managing director, Oil Markets Group, PFC Energy, Business Week, Sept. 1, 2005 FACT: The energy infrastructure survived.

You can read the entire PM piece at their website. They also have a surprisingly good collection of Hurricane Katrina resources.

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I’m getting over feeling sorry for Microsoft for their (lack of) progress with the Stinger platform. And Bill Gates must be in a fun mood now. It seems that he was honored in India for his foundation’s work on AIDS awareness by being presented a giant eight-foot inflated condom.

An eight-foot condom for Bill Gates. No further comment is required.

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