What Fresh Hell Is This?

September 26, 2011

Just Wondering...

A few days ago my good friends at the Tribune-Review published this:
The Justice Department's own inspector general indicts the agency for extravagant spending on food. Think $16 for a single muffin. Think a single beef Wellington appetizer that cost $7.32. Think $5 for a single Swedish meatball. Just as bad, the IG suggests not much has improved since its last report in 2007. And this from the administration that insists on "soaking the rich."
See that? $16 for a single muffin - that's what they said.  That's just outrageous!!

It would be if it were true.  Which of course it isn't.  From ABCNews:
“Under a complete accounting of the services provided for the Executive Office for Immigration Review conference, it is clear that the muffins did not cost $16,” DOJ spokeswoman Gina Talamona said in a written statement. ”The abbreviated banquet checks did not reflect all of the food and services provided. The package consisted of food, beverages, staff services and function space, including a 450-seat ballroom and more than a dozen workshop and breakout rooms each of the five days of the conference.”
Oh, things look different now. That was from the DOJ side. What do the Hilton folks have to say about it? Take a look:
“Dining receipts are often abbreviated and do not reflect the full pre-contracted menu and service provided,” a Hilton statement said, “as is the case with recent media reports of breakfast items approved for some government meetings. In Washington, the contracted breakfast included fresh fruit, coffee, juice, and muffins, plus tax and gratuity, for an inclusive price of $16 per person.”

Without the tax and tip, a spokesman noted, the cost of the continental breakfast was $14 per person.
Ok. Now we're down to $14 per person, not per muffin.

And lookie that actually agrees with something else found in that IG report:
The IG reports said “the EOIR spent nearly $40,000 on refreshments at the conference. The service and gratuity charges applied to each bill equaled 20 percent of the total price of refreshments. Applying the 534-attendee figure to the total cost of refreshments over the 5 days of the event, EOIR spent an average of $14.74 per person per day on refreshments.”
My question is this: given that a fuller investigation into the facts of this story has, in fact, changed the outlines of this story, when will we be seeing a correction by Scaife's braintrust on the Tribune-Review's op-ed page?

My guess is that, yet again, they won't let the facts get in the way of a good smear.  And we'll be hearing about Obama's $16 muffins for years.

[Comedy note:  If there were only bagels mentioned in the story, then I could've punned in that last sentence and say that the Trib wouldn't let facts get in the way of a good schmear.  Oh well - maybe that's a good thing.]


Winding down said...

Not to change the subject but....
From Jeff Jacoby...9/26
By now, only ideologues and political propagandists insist that all reputable scientists agree on the human responsibility for climate change. Even within the American Physical Society, the editor of "Physics and Society" (an APS publication) has acknowledged that "there is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree -- that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are -- primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."
Giaever is only one of many distinguished scientists who dissent from the alarmist view on climate change. Among the others are Richard Lindzen of MIT and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, both noted climatologists; the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson of Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study; and S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. Within the population of weather experts best known to the public -- broadcast meteorologists -- The New York Times reported last year that skepticism of the prevailing anthropogenic global-warming theory "appears to be widespread."
Such skepticism is not "anti-science." Everything in science is subject to challenge; innumerable facts about the natural world have been discovered only by poking holes in once-prevailing theories. And if that is true generally, how much more so is it true when it comes to something as vast and complex as climate change? Researchers still have no way "to reliably discriminate between manmade warming and natural warming processes," climate scientist Roy Spencer has written. "We cannot put the Earth in a laboratory and carry out experiments on it. There is only one global warming experiment, and we are all participating in it right now."
Someday the workings of climate change may be as well understood as plate tectonics or photosynthesis. Until then, different theories will compete, assumptions will be fought over, and scientific findings will be overstated by people with political or social agendas. We'll know that the science really is settled when the battles have come to an end.

Winding down said...

Jacoby is on the payroll of some Scaife/Koch foundation....I think.... because of the tenure of his writings.

EdHeath said...

You know, Winding down, you don't bother to a) link to Jacoby's piece, b) print the entirety of Jacoby's piece or c) preserve his hyperlinks. In other words, you come in, try to hijack this blog, and just throw something at us and expect the posters, commenters and readers of this blog to look like assholes for not agreeing with ... I don't even know who we are supposed to agree with. Do you have opinions of your own, or do you simply hide behind others?

As for Dayvoe's post, there is a sort of question of how much the government should pay for services. But you can get bogged down in details, to the point where nothing gets done. Where should the "Executive office for immigration Review conference be held? I assume the Hilton-owned hotel was available for the time slot and had sufficient facilities. Perhaps the government could build its own facilities for conferences to control costs, but then if it did not host private conferences would Republicans complain about wasted spending, and if it did have private sector conferences, would Republicans complain about the government competing (unfairly) in the market? And in any event, the point of the post is that the Trib editorial board distorted truth by omitting facts, misleading its readers.

Winding down said...

I post articles...parts of articles with which I agree. The authors are more competent than I in expressing themselves.

How you perceive yourselves is your lookout. I am not expecting you to agree with me beyond the most basic stuff...sun up in the east and the like. I am with theguy/gal who observed...there no new ideas just restatements...and others are better at it than I.

I subscribe to the assertion that all human interaction has been sorted out in the old testament.

I find it impossible to understand how a blog can be hyjacked by one of the very few individuals who has posted anything in the recent past. Accuse me of being a clanging bell...ignore me... that's ok...have a great day..

Ed, it's just you and me ...and a few other lost souls

Winding down said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Winding down said...

From. Ourdocuments.gov

In 1909 progressives in Congress again attached a provision for an income tax to a tariff bill. Conservatives, hoping to kill the idea for good, proposed a constitutional amendment enacting such a tax; they believed an amendment would never received ratification by three-fourths of the states. Much to their surprise, the amendment was ratified by one state legislature after another, and on February 25, 1913, with the certification by Secretary of State Philander C. Knox, the 16th amendment took effect. Yet in 1913, due to generous exemptions and deductions, less than 1 percent of the population paid income taxes at the rate of only 1 percent of net income.

This document settled the constitutional question of how to tax income and, by so doing, effected dramatic changes in the American way of life.

EdHeath said...

Actually, Winding down, 2PJ's get an admirable amount of traffic. Maybe they don't always get comments, but a lot of people look. One reason I comment here is to lure people to visit my own blog. I generally only comment with my own opinion, to give people a taste of how I write (among other reasons). I might quote and link to something I read if it is very much on point.

I mean, there are no hard and fast rules for commenting on blogs, and certainly I am far from any sort of authority figure to suggest, let alone enforce any sorts of rules.

But, you know, ordinary politeness ... if you are talking to someone about how a newspaper covers government spending and the person you are talking to suddenly says "Jeff Jacoby says that "By now, only ideologues and political propagandists insist that all reputable scientists agree on the human responsibility for climate change", then that person is trying to control the conversation (IMO).

So, OK, yeah, Jacoby has his own opinion and it is interesting and all, but when you start with "Not to change the subject but ..." ... well....

You don't have to have your own opinions, you don't have to be trying to persuade anyone, but I assume you can see that those sorts of things are usually the point of commenting on someone's blog. Most people don't "post articles" in the comments section of other people's blogs, and to the extent they do, they try to post articles that are related to the original post. And it really would be a matter of ordinary politeness to provide a link to your posted article.

But, you know, whatever. In my experience, people are generally taken as seriously as they take others.

Winding down said...

I will allow myself to be lured. Tks for lesson blogging Etiquette.