Your Virtual Front Page, Friday, January 10, 2014

A sort of middling news day:

  1. Just as Hopes Were Lifting, a Meager Growth in Payrolls (NYT) — I went with this version because the headline best explained the stakes.
  2. U.S. to dump contractor (WashPost) — CGI Federal will be replaced by Accenture.
  3. Target Says 70 Million Individuals’ Data May Have Been Stolen (NPR) — But wait — the NYT says it’s more like 110 million.
  4. CAR resignation brings joy and fear (The Guardian) — The continuing unholy mess in Central Africa.
  5. N.J. Lawmakers Release New Bridge-Lane Closure Records (WSJ) — It sucks to be Chris Christie this week.
  6. Hollande attacks report of affair (BBC) — He indicates he may sue. But I wonder: Is this sort of thing even considered defamatory in France?

32 thoughts on “Your Virtual Front Page, Friday, January 10, 2014

  1. bud

    What’s gotten into Ariail? The cartoon suggests Christie took responsibility. But let’s be clear, he didn’t. Did Robert actually watch any of the Governor’s news conferences? He played the victim card to the hilt. Of course he mouthed the mandatory words of accepting responsibility just like any third rate politician knows to do but really his performance was shockingly short on admitting any failure. And the worst thing of all Christies fired Bridget Kelly for “lying to him”. Really? He should have fired her for her dastardly roll in closing the bridge. That simply takes your breathe away to see how callous and self-serving Christie comes across in this whole disgusting debacle.

    Let’s be clear, Christie failed utterly for 4 days to get the lanes re-opened. He never asked his staff for fully un-redacted e-mails during the course of the unfolding scandal. He obfuscating and dodged for months while the press did it’s job. I’ve been critical of the press but in this particular case they came through. But sadly I can’t say the same about Robert Ariail. Really Robert this was hands down your second worst ever cartoon. But I guess everyone has an off day.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Yes, bud! Christie made a very insincere sounding apology after mocking reporters who dared ask about it! Either he knew what was going on on his staff, or he should have known.

      1. bud

        Let’s not forget this snarky comment Christie made before the e-mails came out: “I even moved the cones myself”.

  2. Doug Ross

    “CGI Federal will be replaced by Accenture.”

    Train wreck, meet plane crash. The website could have been developed by probably 20 good people in 1/4 the time. The volumes of data are trivial. Its the interfaces to other broken systems that will keep this disaster in the news for a long time.

    1. bud

      I have an idea. Let’s bring in the folks who set up Target’s security system to set up the healthcare website. With their track record nothing could possibly go wrong.

      1. Mark Stewart

        This Danny story will still likely turn out a bigger deal than today’s news lets on.

        At least it better.

  3. Michael Rodgers

    All of the job growth was women, and “women’s recent job gains have been concentrated in low-wage sectors.”
    We need more jobs for everybody, and the public sector must provide them if the private sector won’t. It’s time for America to rebuild and expand infrastructure, so that when the private sector is ready again to hire, the infrastructure will be improved and the workforce will be ready. Otherwise the workforce will stay out of work and joblessness will lead to moral decay.

    1. bud

      There are always caveats with these (jobs) reports. That just goes with the territory. Indeed wages have grown very slowly in recent years. But I’m optimistic that if we can ever approach full employment the competitive nature of business will bid wages up. Of course that will work best in industries that are competitive.

  4. Phillip

    I didn’t see the Christie news conference, but I’ll assume for the moment that he’s sincere in his acceptance of responsibility, as Mr. Ariail suggests in his cartoon. Here are some examples of someone else accepting responsibility:

    Oct. 2012, on Benghazi: “I am ultimately responsible for what’s taking place there because these are my folks, and I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home…Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job….But she works for me. I’m the president and I am always responsible.”

    Oct. 2013, on the ACA website problems: “There’s no excuse for it, and I take full responsibility.”

    Jan. 2010, after the unsuccessful Christmas NWAirlines bombing attempt, on the failures of American intelligence to stop the perpetrator before he was on the flight: “Ultimately,, the buck stops with me. As president, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people, and when the system fails, it is my responsibility.”

    Nov. 2011, on the general state of the economy, after being asked at which point the economic malaise become his fault and not his predecessor’s: “Well, it’s always my responsibility. I’m less interested in allocating blame than just making sure that we’re taking every step we need to to move the economy forward.”

    I could go on and on and on, but you get my point. Of course, it’s easy to mouth those words “I take full responsibility,” but ultimately actions are more telling than words. Nevertheless, if willingness to say those words is the subject of your cartoon, it’s unworthy of a cartoonist like Ariail to lazily fall back into parroting Fox News inaccurate talking points. The record is clear, and it states otherwise.

    1. Scout

      Thanks for digging up the details. I knew my memory didn’t match that cartoon, but seeing the details makes me feel better.

    2. Doug Ross

      Part of the President’s responsibility if he is taking ownership of Benghazi, ACA, etc. is to hold those people responsible who are under him. At least Christie fired someone (too little, too late). The fact that Sebelius still has her job is a sign of Obama’s poor leadership.

        1. Doug Ross

          Huh? What in the world does that mean? I can be fired by my clients any time they want to do it. It’s never happened though. I worked for corporations for 30+ years before going solo. Never been fired, never been laid off…

          1. Doug Ross

            And when I have made mistakes, I own up to them immediately and don’t try to play politics.

            But since Obama hasn’t had a real job in his life, he wouldn’t know how that works.

          2. Kathryn Fenner

            But it is a lot easier to see who did the mistake when it is you. Where do you stop firing people when mistakes are made? How far up the chain?

            And George W certainly had a stellar employment history….

          3. Doug Ross

            For a big program like Obamacare implemented over several years, the person at the top owns it. Who has been fired for the botched rollout?

            I have personally kicked people off projects when they didn’t perform. It wasn’t fun but it was the right thing to do.

            What does George Bush have to do with anything? He was a lousy President as well. How many years beyond his Presidency will it take before Democrats stop using him as a crutch?

          4. Brad Warthen

            Golly, if only I’d been as good at my job as Doug, I’d have never been laid off!

            Of course, I could say that I had been working for newspapers for 35 years and had never been laid off. Only I wouldn’t have thought to say it, because the possibility that it could even happen never occurred to me…

          5. Doug Ross

            I guess the difference between us is that I saw the handwriting on the wall with one company that was beginning a slow decline and left a year before they began the layoffs.

            Layoffs aren’t a function of worker quality. They are a function of larger issues at a corporate or industry level. It’s up to the individual whether to either ignore the warning signs or just hope you don’t get the pink slip. I would suggest that anyone in the newspaper business today should be looking at other potential options.

          6. Brad Warthen Post author

            And the question again is this: What would you have had me do? I’ve had nearly five years to think about it now, and I have no idea. Except to do what I did — to keep doing my job as well as I could, in spite of dwindling resources. That was my role, and my mission.

          7. Doug Ross

            You could have done what you did after you were let go. You know, like look at what other opportunities were available outside the newspaper industry. Maybe you were doing that… Or trying to do things to create additional sources of income like speaking engagements, writing a book (I know that’s not easy), or moving into a different form of media. I would think there would be plenty of career options for a person of your advanced skills and experience.

            – Moderator of a Sunday TV issues based talk show
            – Radio talk show host
            – Editor of your own small paper (higher risk but potential highest reward)
            – Emcee of corporate events
            – High school history or civics teacher
            – Christina Hendricks personal assistant

            I have a friend who has allowed himself to get trapped in a job that he hates because he was unwilling to stay current with changes in the technology industry. Now it’s too late for him to restart again.

        1. Doug Ross

          According to the University of Chicago:

          “From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School’s Senior Lecturers has high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.”

          So he wasn’t a full time professor.

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            Three courses a year is a full load for Professor Fenner, but he is also expected to do, and does, substantial research. Just made full professor, btws!

            Three law courses is a big deal. He also worked doing various other things.

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