Dana Milbank vs. Helen Thomas
A Slightly, Slightly Unfavorable CPI Report

Worth Reading, 20060718

Worth reading, July 18, 2006:

The Horse's Mouth: TIMES CORRECTS FALSE HILLARY STORY. As you know by now, the Times erroneously reported that Hillary "chastised Democrats" for "wasting time" when in fact she was talking about the GOP-controlled Congress. Many of us squawked and screamed. And it looks like it worked. The Times has now posted this editor's note: "An article published on the Web site of The New York Times on Sunday reported on a speech by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Rogers, Ark. The headline and article said that Mrs. Clinton had criticized Democrats on Saturday for "wasting time" by dealing with issues that helped Republicans turn out voters rather than finding consensus on mainstream subjects. The opening sentence of the article and the headline were based on a misinterpretation of a passage in her speech in which she first referred to the Democrats' agenda in the Senate and then went on to criticize the actions of the Republican majority in Congress. She was referring to the Republican-led Congress -- not Democrats -- when she said: "So we do other things, we do things that are controversial, we do things that try to inflame their base so that they can turn people out and vote for their candidates. I think we are wasting time, we are wasting lives, we need to get back to making America work again, in a bipartisan, nonpartisan way." The article used only the phrase "wasting time," not the full quotation."

Daily Kos: Through the Looking Glass: Can the American army rein in the Shiite militias and the Shia Iraqi forces? The very same Iraqi forces that we trained to stand up so we could stand down? Well, now that those forces have stood up, in a manner of speaking, we can't stand down. Iraq is in complete chaos and the Bush administration has no plan. And now we've reached the point where the Sunni seek support from the United States against the American trained and installed Shia forces? We are through the looking glass...

In an About-Face, Sunnis Want U.S. to Remain in Iraq - New York Times: By EDWARD WONG and DEXTER FILKINS: As sectarian violence soars, many Sunni Arab political and religious leaders once staunchly opposed to the American presence here are now saying they need American troops to protect them from the rampages of Shiite militias and Shiite-run government forces. The pleas from the Sunni Arab leaders have been growing in intensity since an eruption of sectarian bloodletting in February, but they have reached a new pitch in recent days as Shiite militiamen have brazenly shot dead groups of Sunni civilians in broad daylight in Baghdad and other mixed areas of central Iraq...

Backreaction: Neutrinos for Beginners: When I started my position at the University of Arizona, Keith suggested an interesting work about neutrinos to me. I didn't know very much about neutrino physics at this time (okay, I didn't know anything at all). However, I could immediately relate to these elusive particles with small masses that interact only weakly, and which have caused not little physicists to scratch their head. During the following year, I learned a lot about neutrinos. Here, I'd like to give you a short and very basic introduction of what turned out to be a very fascinating and lively field of theoretical as well as experimental physics...

Daniel Gross: July 16, 2006 - July 22, 2006 Archives: GREAT MOMENTS IN CREDULITY: From an article by Michael Abramowitz and Chuck Babington in yesterday's Washington Post.... It's amazing to me that two reporters could print that quote from Milburn, even with the two paragraphs that follow. Why? To say that discretionary spending has been kept in check in the Bush years is, lets see, how should I put this, an appalling lie!...

TAPPED: CHUTZPAH. Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie thinks he's picked up on Joe Lieberman's coming message: Heads I win, tails I make you lose. Rennie writes that "[t]he theme of a Saturday conclave of Greater Hartford Democratic town committee chairs was that if Lieberman loses the primary he will hurt all other Democratic candidates by running as an independent in November. The message was clear: help him now or your favorites suffer in November." So vote Lieb, or the Democratic Party gets it!... Lieberman, after all, need not run as an independent. If he loses the primary, he could bow to the will of the voters and simply slink off into a world of corporate boards and speaking engagements. Man has known worse fates.... What's remarkable, though, is that so little attention is paid by Lieberman's supporters to the import of his decision: It is Lieberman, not Lamont, who will create the three-way race. It is Lieberman, not Lamont, who is choosing to render this a Republican pick-up opportunity. It is Lieberman, not Lamont, who has decided his personal ambitions outweigh the Democratic Party's prospects...

The Corner on National Review Online: Hezbollah's Casualties, The Cynical View [Jonah Goldberg]: I should have mentioned this in the original post. But several readers have raised the other possibility that some of the "civilians" are in fact members of Hezbollah and the Western press takes casualty reports at face value. Maybe. It's not like we haven't see that before. Still, most of these casualties must in fact be civilians — the refugee caravan for example — and Israel has not denied as much...

Stockblog: Market Votes No on Recession: What today's 200 point Dow rally makes obvious is that the market is far more afraid of Ben and his Greenspanian minions overshooting than it is of inflation. So we rally huge on the slightest increase in perception that the Fed may be done soon. We've heard it all before. The bond kings been calling for the Fed to pause and even begin lowering rates back into last year...

Stockblg: Most Ignorant Question Ever Asked: I like to watch our Fed Chairmen report to our elected officials, not for the economic information derived from it, but for laughs. Senator Richard Shelby says, "Historically, energy prices have been excluded from the measure of what you call core prices in the consumer price index. If there is a sustained increase in energy prices, would it be more appropriate for policy makers to rely upon an inflation measure, which includes the energy costs. In other words, does the exclusion of energy prices from the definition of core prices pose any problems for our economists trying to understand the health of our economy at the present time?" OH MY GOD!!! Watching our elected officials try and talk about economics, even the very most basic, is better than anything the Comedy channel puts out. He couldn't possibly have come up with a more idiotic and economically ignorant question to ask. There's no way I could take such a question with a straight face. I'd be like, "Who in the hell elected you and why are you a chairman of anything. You're a freakin' moron." An inflation measure including energy prices? It's called the CPI, aka the headline inflation number that hits the front page newspapers across the country and world. If you put energy prices (and food) back into core, then you've got just the original CPI that we took energy and food prices out of in the first place. The purpose of the core CPI is not to measure overall inflation. That's the purpose of the CPI. The use of the core CPI is to isolate out other prices and see what's happening to them. In recent years it has been to determine how higher energy prices are impacting the prices of other goods...

Michael Walzer: There cannot be any direct attacks on civilian targets (even if the enemy doesn't believe in the existence of civilians), and this principle is a major constraint also on attacks on the economic infrastructure. Writing about the first Iraq war, in 1991, I argued that the U.S. decision to attack "communication and transportation systems, electric power grids, government buildings of every sort, water pumping stations and purification plants" was wrong. "Selected infrastructural targets are easy enough to justify: bridges over which supplies are carried to the army in the field provide an obvious example. But power and water ... are very much like food: they are necessary to the survival and everyday activity of soldiers, but they are equally necessary to everyone else. An attack here is an attack on civilian society. ... [I]t is the military effects, if any, that are 'collateral.'" That was and is a general argument; it clearly applies to the Israeli attacks on power stations in Gaza and Lebanon...

ThinkProgress: Defending Bush's Veto, Rove Grossly Distorts Stem Cell Science: Today, Bush is expected to veto a bill that would expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.... Last week, Karl Rove... told the Denver Post that "recent studies" show researchers "have far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells." The Chicago Tribune contacted a dozen top stem cell experts about Rove's claim. They all said it was inaccurate. So who wrote the "studies" that Rove was referring to? White House spokesman Ken Lisaius on Tuesday could not provide the name of a stem cell researcher who shares Rove's views on the superior promise of adult stem cells...

The Horse's Mouth: EDITORIALS GIVING A FREE PASS TO KILLING OF CIVILIANS. Don't miss the latest installment of Greg Mitchell's indispensible column in Editor and Publisher. In it, he comes right out and says that the country's editorial boards have been woefully remiss in condemning Israel's killing of civilians in Lebanon: "While it's not surprising that nearly every editorial page in the U.S. has offered support for Israel's right to retaliate against Hamas and Hezbollah, it's a disgrace that few have expressed outrage, or at least condemnation, over the extent of death and destruction in and around Beirut -- and the attacks on the country's infrastructure, which harms most citizens of that country. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Lebanon, dozens of bridges and part of Beirut's airport destroyed, power stations and ports short-circuited. Latest reports put the number of refugees at half a million, with thousands of Americans waiting for evacuation..."

WSJ.com - Rambus to Restate Results To Fix Options Accounting: Rambus Inc. said it plans to restate financial statements dating back to 2003 and incur "significant" costs to correct errors related to its stock-option accounting. Shares of Rambus plunged on the news. The Los Altos, Calif., maker of memory chip technology joins about a dozen companies that are working on restatements because of errant accounting for their option grants to top executives and other employees. Federal authorities are also investigating more than 50 companies to determine whether options were illegally backdated or otherwise manipulated. Rambus said its audit committee has determined additional stock-based compensation expenses should have been recorded with respect to certain grants and recognized over the vesting period of the options. The company said the committee considers the amount of the additional expenses to be "material," although it hasn't yet completed its work and reached final conclusions...

The Big Picture: Bernanke & the Markets: Let's cut Ben Bernanke a break: the present situation wasn't of his making; he merely inherited a bad economic set up. Slowing growth, rising inflation, high energy costs, a real estate dependent economy, and the longstanding problem of excess liquidity -- none of these rest at the feet of the present Fed Chair. In reality, they are the result of what Tim Iacono charitably describes as The Mess That Greenspan Made.

Uncertain Principles: Excellent Teaching Advice by Chad Orzel: I'd be remiss in my academic-blogging duties if I failed to point out this Inside Higher Ed piece on teaching core courses. Like many articles published in academic magazines, it's aimed directly at English composition, but the main points can be extended to intro classes in other disciplines. In particular: "10. Don't compare students' attitudes to your own. A colleague of mine who taught business at a private university constantly made scathing comments about his students' seeming lack of effort. "I can't believe you guys don't know this stuff!" he would shout at them. Time and time again, he referred to his own college days -- how he went above and beyond what was expected by his professor, excelled in his subject, and earned stellar grades. The dean finally called him into his office and confronted him, saying, "These students are not you. You majored in this subject; of course you were interested in it. They are taking this as a requirement. Lighten up." As my colleague sat there speechless, the dean continued, "And anyway, don't you ever remember taking courses you didn't like? Try to think back to when you were 20." This is not to say that we can't expect students to achieve the goals we set out for them. But it helps to recognize that there are sometimes years -- or even decades of difference in context and values between us and our students."

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