Thursday, December 20, 2007

Variety Calls Drudge Readers Anti-Semites

Apparently the Drudge Report has struck yet another nerve in the mainstream media. Today, Variety magazine reporter Brian Lowry pens a plea for civility- calling out the readers of the Drudge Report in particular. Writes Lowry,
Gee, gang, why so angry? Every time a column or article of mine gets posted on the site, I invariably wake up to a torrent of hostile emails. For awhile, it was like a perverse "Where's Waldo?" game -- "Oh, that one's rage-filled and anti-Semitic -- I must have made Drudge!"

Leaving aside that probability that most Drudge readers are not in fact anger-filled anti-Semites (that honor has to go to the deranged inhabitants of the Democratic Underground, as documented by the hilarious DUmmie FUnnies), Mr. Lowry does indeed have a point about many emailers- and not a few commentators. A lack of humor and civility does indeed seem to be present these days in political discourse. Unfortunately, the point that Lowry seems to miss is that a good portion of this lack of civility may well arise from the tendency by many on the Left to look down on and otherwise treat conservatives as something somehow inhuman. Lowry goes on to write,
So let's see if we can coexist peacefully. Disagreement is welcome, but it's possible to be civil about it. That's certainly my goal when interacting with Drudge diehards, in part because I'm betting a lot of you are armed to the teeth.

I can agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Lowry's plea for civility. What I find reprehensible are his generalizations and veiled insults. If Mr. Lowry is on the receiving end of anger-filled missives, I can sympathize with him and consider this behavior equally as monstrous as those on the Left who like to accuse President Bush of being Hitler. However, he might want to ask himself why the anger exists- it might be due to the condescending attitude and complete ignorance and appreciation for the denizens of places not named New York or San Francisco. In addition, Lowry reveals the heart of the media's problems in dealing honestly with controversial issues. Islam, to take merely one example, tends to kill people who disagree with them- Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus do not. therefore, the media as a whole tends to treat Judaism and Christianity with disdain and contempt, while affording Islam a respect that it does not deserve based on its actions. This while the media claims to be 'free'. Freedom includes daring to report honestly on people who might be dangerous to the reporters- something few media outlets will do.

Even Lowry's closing displays his own prejudices- he refuses to call the coming holiday 'Christmas' and fancies himself somehow courageous for this. No, Mr. Lowry- only if you dared to diss the Eid (a time when many inhabitants of Saudi Arabia desert the country in droves for a neighboring country where they can drink alcohol) would you be truly courageous. Perhaps if reporters like Lowry could bring themselves to recognize that their political opponents actually have a legitimate point and cease painting them in insulting terms, then maybe some of the anger would dissipate. Just a thought.... Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Media Discovers Library Donors- Silent on Campaign Donors

The Washington Post is aghast today to discover that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and other countries have contributed funds to some of the presidential libraries, including those of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. According to the Post's story,
Bill Clinton's presidential library raised more than 10 percent of the cost of its $165 million facility from foreign sources, with the most generous overseas donation coming from Saudi Arabia, according to interviews yesterday.

The royal family of Saudi Arabia gave the Clinton facility in Little Rock about $10 million, roughly the same amount it gave toward the presidential library of George H.W. Bush, according to people directly familiar with the contributions.

Hoqwever, the Post is not satisfied with this, and goes on to dig further into the sources of funding for presidential libraries. They discover that,
Spokesmen for Kuwait and Taiwan confirmed that each government has given the library $1 million. Both governments also donated to other presidential libraries. Kuwait contributed at least $1 million to the library of former president George H.W. Bush, and Taiwan gave $2 million to the Ronald Reagan library.

Calls to the other governments were not returned, and the Middle Eastern individuals could not be located for comment.

Jack Kuei, a press officer for Taiwan in Washington, said his government's donation "is a way to promote a mutual understanding and it's a kind of public diplomacy." Kuwaiti counselor Jasem Albudaiwi called his nation's contribution "a friendly donation from the people and the government of Kuwait to the cause of the library."

Personally, I cannot see the news interest in this story. Do foreign governments contribute to presidential libraries? Certainly, as this report confirms. Does this have any effect on American political decisions? Unless the library donations are used to pay back favors received while the president was in office, I would suspect it does not. Looking at a list of Reagan's foreign donors, this makes perfect sense. Japan and Taiwan were definitely beneficiaries of Reagan's muscular foreign policy, and he was known to be very strong in their defense. Therefore, their donations are unsurprising.

I would wish that the media focused on actual campaign funding issues- such as the Norman Hsu case that they have done their best to bury. Unless Senator Clinton is receiving money from her husband's library, then where said library's donations originate are really not anyone's business. If these are payoffs from her husband's years in the White House, then that is what the media ought to be investigating, but they did their best to kill any and all stories about Bill';s Asian money problem while he was President, so it is a little difficult now.

I suspect that the media has begun to realize that Hillary Clinton has some very serious problems as a candidate and since they are committed to getting a Democrat into the White House in 2008, they are trying to make certain that the Democratic nominee is not Mrs. Clinton, who has extremely high negatives and who would guarantee a high Republican turnout- she is despised and mistrusted by most Republicans. Since the media dares not attack Clinton too directly, I suspect this is a sideways strike to try to ensure that she is not the Democratic nominee.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Global Warming Goals Revealed- Will Press Report?

United States Senator James Inhofe is a tireless crusader for truth in advertising where the global warming hysteria crowd is concerned. On the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works site he maintains the Inhofe EPW blog, wherein he and his staff update the hysteria of the global warming crowd. Today, blogger Marc Morano has posted a news release on the website exposing the real goals of the global warming crowd. The question is- will the so-called mainstream media actually report on this? Based on past experience, I would guess not.

According to the press release, the real goal of the global warming crowd is the imposition of world taxes- especially on the United States. Morano quotes 'global tax advocate' Othmar Schwank, of an organization called the Mauch Consulting Group.
“Finally someone will pay for these [climate related] costs,” Othmar Schwank, a global tax advocate, told Inhofe EPW Press Blog following the panel discussion titled “A Global CO2 Tax.” Schwank is a consultant with the Switzerland based Mauch Consulting firm

Schwank said at least “$10-$40 billion dollars per year” could be generated by the tax, and wealthy nations like the U.S. would bear the biggest burden based on the “polluters pay principle.”

The U.S. and other wealthy nations need to “contribute significantly more to this global fund,” Schwank explained. He also added, “It is very essential to tax coal.”

In other words, in the manner of hypocritical power grabbers the world over, the method in which they gain the purse strings is less important than the results of gaining control of said purse strings. Morano continues by the eyes by quoting yet another advocate, one Emma Brindal.
The environmental group Friends of the Earth, in attendance in Bali, also advocated the transfer of money from rich to poor nations on Wednesday.

“A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth.

So there we have it. I think a more honest name for Brindal's group would be Friends of Taxing the US to Give Money to the Unaccountable UN. The real goal of all these so-called climate change advocates is the taxation of rich nations so that they can transfer money to poor nations- socialism in action. This is highlighted by the concerns Inhofe's blog also states. Morano quotes several skeptics of global warming, such as Professor Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Writes Morano,
MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen warned about these types of carbon regulations earlier this year. "Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon, you control life," Lindzen said in March 2007.

In addition, many critics have often charged that proposed tax and regulatory “solutions” were more important to the promoters of man-made climate fears than the accuracy of their science.

This is exactly right. The goal of the bureaucrats and activists is to give the UN real taxation powers, and then to tie the United States into this anti-American organization so that the rest of the world can take advantage of US innovations and power without that annoying necessity of consulting the American people. This is an attack on US sovereignty. Will the press take notice? They are certainly up in arms over the US government's attempts to defend American from Muslim terrorists. will they be as alarmed about the international attempt to use global warming to steal sovereignty from American voters? I wish I could be optimistic about the possibility that any member of the national press corps will actually write in a negative manner about this attempt. Instead of defending their country against unaccountable bureaucrats and 'activists', it seems to this writer that they are too busy trying to elect a President who will assist in the process of giving away US sovereignty. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mitchell Report- No McGwire or Sosa

The long-anticipated Mitchell Report on major league baseball's steroid problem came out today and a list of the players named in the report was linked to by Matt Drudge. Among those named are some whose presence was expected- Barry Bonds, the Giambi brothers (Jason and Jeremy), Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco. There were also some names whose presence must come as a major surprise, including Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite. However, the biggest news has to be the two names that many expected would be on the list and which were not- Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

Many in the media took McGwire's grudging presence at Congress' investigations and refusal to say anything as proof of his guilt. And Sammy Sosa has had some incidents himself. However, depsite the presence of McGwire's one-time teammate Jose Canseco on the list, neither McGwire or sosa was named in the report- at least as far as I have read so far.

Personally, I am inclined to give both men the benefit of the doubt. McGwire openly had containers of both androstenedione and creatine in his locker, and denies he ever did anything illegal. Since andro was legal when McGwire was taking it, he seems to be telling the truth. In any case, McGwire had been hitting lots of home runs a year dating back to college, where he hit a then-record 49. As for Sosa, as much as he will be remembered for his corked bat, there is currently no evidence that he took anything illegal either. Bonds on the other hand, never hit more than 35 homers until he suddenly began getting bigger and stronger as he aged.

i have always though McGwire is a class guy who handled a very difficult situation as best he could. The omission of his name on Mitchell's report, while not completely clearing him of all suspiction, must go a long way in confirming me in this belief.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Great White Fleet Remembered

Renowned military historian and reporter Austin Bay has reminded me, via a column posted over at, that this week, specifically December 16, is the 100th anniversary of the circumnavigation by the Great White Fleet. I doubt that a celebration of the famous cruise will appear in any of the so-called mainstream press. However, in his article, he provides a masterly summation of the cruise, which officially was simply the round-the-world cruise by the United States Atlantic Fleet. Bay writes,
President Theodore Roosevelt sent the fleet of 16 white-painted battleships on the 14-month cruise for a number of reasons. I doubt the headline "TR PR" appeared in 1907, but it would have been accurate, as well as succinct. The Great White Fleet's journey certainly served as a global public relations event.

In a recent interview, naval historian Dr. A.A. Nofi agreed with that assessment. "The voyage was an announcement," Nofi said. "America had been quietly building up the second-largest navy in the world, and no one was paying attention. The Great White Fleet said, 'Hey, we're here.'"

Nofi said, however, there was another reason to send the fleet, one that had less to do with showoff bravado and more to do with calculated geostrategic signaling in the wake of Japan's victory over Russia in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. An Asian power had defeated a European power in a major naval engagement that featured the movement of the Russian fleet from European waters to East Asia. "In the immediate political context (of the early 20th century)," Nofi said, "the fleet's voyage was a message to Japan that said that unlike Russia, if America has to cross the ocean to fight you, its navy will be there in force and ready."

Precisely. Theodore Roosevelt, much like Ronald Reagan, understood that if there was to be war, the United States needed to be ready. To that end, he was a strong supporter of the nation's armed forces, and particularly the Navy- a favoritism that rubbed off on his cousin Franklin as well. And although his muscular (and largely personal) diplomacy was replaced by the muddle-headed do-gooding of Woodrow Wilson, he laid the groundwork for the US Navy's successful performance in World War I. The United States Navy's site provides additional information on the 1907 cruise. According to the Navy, as recorded by Mike McKinley,
The cruise provided the officers and men of the fleet with thorough at-sea training and brought about improvements in formation steaming, coal economy, gunnery and morale. It also stressed the need for overseas bases that could provide better coaling and supply services along with more auxiliary ships. Foreign coaling ships or ports were used 90 percent of the time for coaling and resupply.

For the sailors who participated in this historic once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the cruise reinforced their pride in service and country. They had been the ambassadors of good will and the vehicles through which others perceived and judged America and the Navy. The results were gratifying. But even more concretely, the sailors saw their individual roles and the role of the Great White Fleet as providing the muscle behind US foreign policy.

As one sailor succinctly put it, "We just wanted to let the world know we were prepared for anything they wanted to kick up. We wanted to show the world what we could do."

Taken as a whole, the cruise did indeed provide invaluable experience to the men of the Fleet as well as the master planners in Washington. It opened the world's eyes to the growing power of the upstart republic. And it opened America's eyes to the fact that they had truly arrived on the global stage and that the world was beginning to be our stage. Finally, the cruise and his successful arbitration of the Russo-Japanese War provided Roosevelt and his Administration with two valuable public relations coups, overshadowing anything that the opposition (in those days a mostly loyal opposition, it must be said) could do to submarine his Administration.

Pity that today's Press and many of our political so-called 'leadership' has neither the intestinal fortitude nor the love of country to repeat such an experience. I would hope that some mainstream press organ might pick up on this story. But since even they cannot find anything in the story of the Great White Fleet to shame current President George W. Bush, I doubt that they will waste any of their precious newsprint on a story that holds only glory and praise for this great country and our wonderful Navy.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pearl Harbor Remembered

For those few readers who may not be aware, today is the sixty-sixth anniversary of the Japanese attack on the United States Pacific Fleet as it lay at anchor in Pearl Harbor. The attack precipitated official American involvement in World War II, as it was followed shortly by Germany declaring war on the United States, thus finally bringing the U.S. into the fight alongside the British Empire.

The attack was meant to have been announced by the Japanese ambassador just as the attack commenced, thus avoiding the image of a sneak attack, but due to a combination of circumstances, the diplomats were not able to get the ultimatum translated and typed in time to deliver it before the Japanese planes attacked. the results of Pearl harbor were devastating for the US Pacific Fleet- all eight battleships out of action, most of the warplanes destroyed and over two thousand Americans were killed. The only bright spot for the United States was that the attack failed to catch any of the Pacific Fleet's three aircraft carriers in port- all were out on missions at the time. President Franklin Roosevelt, in his speech to Congress asking for a declaration of war, called the attack 'a day that will live in infamy', and so it should be. But it should be remarked that much of the anger came from Japan's attempt to meet the letter of the law while violating the intent.

And to the credit of the nation, where there had been a strong peace movement, the attack overnight essentially ended the protests. Despite a year of constant defeat, despite horrendous casualties and despite the loss of men, ships and armies, the American public did not give up- they persevered until at last General Douglas MacArthur was able to dictate peace terms to Japan from the deck of the battleship Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay.

This brings up an interesting point. In the news today, many news organizations mark the anniversary fo Pearl harbor. Yet not a single one seems to have made the point that the Pearl harbor attack differs in several significant ways from the recent attack on Manhattan's Twin Towers. And these differences are important.

First, the attack on Pearl Harbor targeted military personnel and installations- a perfectly legitimate target by any rule of war. Pearl Harbor was not a civilian establishment- it was the main base of the United States Pacific Fleet. Second, the men at Pearl had the ability to defend themselves. True, there was incompetence and cowardice displayed throughout, but there was also much heroism, as shown by fighter pilots Taylor and Welch, who managed to take off and shoot down several Japanese planes, despite being incredibly outnumbered. there was the battleship USS Nevada, who desperately made a dash for the sea, only to be deliberately grounded to avoid blocking the channel. The point, however, is that the defenders had the machines and methods to fight back- they were not defenceless civilians.

So where is the outrage about September 11? Pearl harbor is to this day remembered as a sneak attack. Yet September 11 was even more so, perpetrated by cowards who did not have the courage to engage in open combat with the United States, but rather hid and used unarmed civilians as shields. And it ought to be noted that many of those killed in the September 11 attacks were not even Americans, but rather foreigners who happened to be working or sightseeing there. No one killed at Pearl Harbor was a civilian that I am aware of.

My point is simple. The Japanese are rightfully condemned for their duplicitous methodology. However, why cannot our press and our politicians bring themselves to be as righteously outraged about a much more cowardly and duplicitous attack, carried out for equally ignoble motives (Islamists want world domination and see us as the primary obstacle)? To me, the perpetrators of September 11 are far more despicable than the Japanese government and military of 1941. I wish that more of our so-called intelligentsia shared that opinion. But I fear they are too blinded by their hatred of all things related to our President to even admit that he got something right.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Moving On Up....

According to Technorati, that is. I was just over there, and apparently StoneHeads is now in the top 1,000,000. Out of who-knows-how-many blogs on Technorati (I know it is at least 8,911,366), we now rank at Number 676,883. Hooray! Maybe one day we will actually make the top 500,000 or so. Only another 176,883 more steps to go!

In any event, I wanted to send out a big thank you to all the folks who actually read and who have linked to the this blog. And especially to all the loyal readers who have stuck with me and continue to follow the varied ramblings of this particular stonehead.


The baby-boom generation has had an enormous effect on the United States, of that there is no question. However, there is a significant question as to what kind of effect that might have been- was it positive or negative? For myself, though I am a generation younger, at least two of my best friends are members of the baby-boomer generation, and I know many other members of this generation. And I cannot help but think that overall, there are virtually no positive benefits that one can ascribe to the baby-boomers.

And it seems that I am not alone in this opinion. Over at, Dennis Prager agrees, writing a column apologizing to the current generation for the baby-boomers' many mistakes. Amont other things, Prgaer says,
Our generation came up with two truly foolish slogans that also ended up robbing you of childhood.

One was, "Never trust anyone over 30." Our infantile attitude toward adult authority has inflicted great harm on you. Because of it, many baby boomers decided not to become adults, and this has had disastrous consequences in your lives. It deprived you of one of the greatest needs in your life -- adults. That in turn deprived you of something as important as love -- parental and other adult authority. With little parental authority, you were left with little personal security, few guardrails and a diminished sense of order in life. And we transferred this denial of authority to virtually all authority figures, from teachers to police.

The other slogan whose awful consequences we baby boomers bequeathed to you was, "Make love, not war." Our parents had liberated the world from immeasurably cruel and murderous regimes in Germany and Japan -- solely thanks to waging war. But instead of concluding that war could do great moral good, we sang ourselves silly with such inane lyrics as "Give peace a chance," as if that deals in any way with the world's most monstrous evils. So we taught you to make love and not war. And we succeeded.

Prager gets it right. The baby-boomers somehow completely missed that it was only through the power of armed resistance that the forces of Nazi Germany, and Imperial japan were defeated. Only the power of the United States military kept western Europe free from the menace of the Red Army while Communists murdered millions and built the Berlin Wall to hold in their own citizens. And the sins of the baby-boomers do not end there. Prager comments that,
We also made you weak. We did everything possible to ensure that you suffered no pain. Sometimes we changed game scores if a team was winning by too large a margin; we abolished dodgeball lest anyone suffer early removal from the game; and we gave trophies to all of you who played on baseball teams, no matter how awfully you or your team played so that none of you missed getting a trophy while members of another team did. Much of this was thanks to the self-esteem-without-having-to-earn-it movement, which in our generation's almost infinite lack of wisdom we inflicted upon you. Sorry for that, too.

So true. One gains self-esteem by actually doing something and doing it well. And if one does not do well at a particular game, then one can either find an area where he or she does excel, or work to gain expertise in the area where they lack. Something that too many baby-boomers simply don't appear to understand.

In the end, the baby-boomers destroyed much of the underlying strength of America and the West. They made us into a nation of lawyers, where one can hardly even stand up for himself without prompting a lawsuit. They took away many of the joys of childhood, where much of the fun was discovering one's limitations and strengths, and they preached canards that they felt were below them to practice. And what benefits did they bring? Aside from personal technology, has anything they did proved a success? the great Society that they were so proudly for? A disaster. The War on Poverty? A complete failure. Their continuing habits of appeasement and dictator-worshipping? Embarrassing at best and dangerous at worst.

The best thing that the succeeding generations can do is try to undo most of the Boomers' work in order that we can restore the world before the baby-boomers got their hands on it. And maybe, give children back the joys of childhood.

Are Macs Still Safe?

For a long time, one of the Macintosh's primary attraction has been its relative immunity from the horde of viruses that affect Windows-based computers. Certainly I have benefited knowing that I as long as I run my utilities on a regular basis and exercise a degree of cAution when surfing the Web I am fairly safe from attack. And of course when I surf using my ancient pre-OSX Macs, the odds of getting a virus are infinitesimal.

However, according to the Financial Times online edition, this may be changing. The Financial Times reports that hackers are increasingly targeting Mac users as Apple's share of the industry rises. The Times writes,
After years of relative safety, the Apple Mac is becoming an increasingly tempting target for malicious computer hackers, according to a new report published this week.

Security researchers have been aware of the threat to Apple since last year, when they detected the first piece of malicious code – or “malware” – specifically designed to target Apple.

Over the past few months, however, the number of malicious programs has increased, according to a report published this week by F-Secure, an internet security company.

“Over the past two years, we had found one or two pieces of malware targeting Macs,” said Patrik Runald, an F-Secure security researcher. “Since October, we’ve found 100-150 variants.”

So what is the good news? Unlike the Windows system, which contains a widely publicized number of vulnerabilities. Any PC user is used to the security patches that appear with monotonous regularity from Microsoft, usually without any real explanation. Apple in contrast has a reputation for being much more secure, and as a result, the new viruses rely on users installing the problem software themselves as opposed to a system vulnerability. So as long as a Mac user is educated and suspicious, he or she should continue to be safe from the hackers. As long as they don't have to use a Microsoft-based system, that is!

Monday, December 03, 2007

LA Times: CNN='Corrupt News Network'

In the wake of the embarrassing and highly slanted CNN-hosted Republican debate on CNN last week, the fallout continues from CNN's attempts to inject its own biases into the Republican debate. Today comes one of the harshest blasts- and it comes not from the blogosphere, which has been relentless in following the story, but from CNN's fellow media dinosaur the Los Angeles Times, in the person of reporter Tim Rutten.

Rutten is not pleased by CNN's performance, and in his article, he pulls no punches in describing his view of CNN's activities. He wrote,
In fact, this most recent debacle masquerading as a presidential debate raises serious questions about whether CNN is ethically or professionally suitable to play the political role the Democratic and Republican parties recently have conceded it.

Selecting a president is, more than ever, a life and death business, and a news organization that consciously injects itself into the process, as CNN did by hosting Wednesday's debate, incurs a special responsibility to conduct itself in a dispassionate and, most of all, disinterested fashion. When one considers CNN's performance, however, the adjectives that leap to mind are corrupt and incompetent.

Rutten went on to define why he thinks that the network is corrupt. Unlike the bloggers, Rutten did not condemn CNN's planted questions, though one wonders how he would react if say, Fox had done the same thing to the Democratic candidates. Since they were too scared of Fox to even appear, we will never know the answer to that one, though I personally doubt that Fox would have stooped to the depths displayed by CNN.

No, Rutten's main complaint was actually with the way that CNN organized the debate, spending roughly the entire first half-hour or so on the illegal immigration issue, which, while it is important to some Republicans, does not appear in the list of top issues concerning Republicans, according to the Pew polls. So why did CNN spend so much time on an issue that may not even be that important to the average Republican? Rutten think he knows, writing,
In other words, CNN intentionally directed the Republicans' debate to advance its own interests. Make immigration a bigger issue and you've made a bigger audience for Dobbs.

That's corruption, and it's why the Republican candidates had to spend more than half an hour "debating" an issue on which their differences are essentially marginal -- and, more important, why GOP voters had to sit and wait, mostly in vain, for the issues that really concern them to be discussed. That's particularly true because that same Pew poll reported findings of particular relevance to Republican voters, the vast majority of whom continue to support the war in Iraq.

I don't know if I would agree with Rutten on the specifics of his charge, as I find a commercial network's desire to pander to a topic that it's most popular host pushes un-threatening. As long as the viewers are informed, they will be aware of what CNN is doing and will probably tune out until the topic changes. I know I would. However, CNN's overall performance, both in this debate and in the Democratic 'talking snowman' debate, has definitely done the network a disservice. And when one considers that this is the same network that has no problem being complicit with dictators in order to keep their Baghdad bureau open, one begins to seriously wonder why anyone takes the network's slanted 'news' seriously at all.

Friday, November 30, 2007

More Press Hubris?

the Washington Post today ran a front-page article by star reporter Howard Kurtz on how the national media is unhappy with their lack of access to Hillary Clinton. As Kurtz wrote,
National correspondents are increasingly frustrated by a lack of access to Clinton. They spend much of their time in rental cars chasing her from one event to the next, because the campaign usually provides no press bus or van. Life on the bus means journalists don't have to worry about luggage or directions or getting left behind, since they are part of the official motorcade. News organizations foot the bill for such transportation, but campaigns have to staff and coordinate the buses -- and deal with the constant presence of their chroniclers.

To me this sounds like more press hubris, closely related to Bobby Calvan, the arrogant press puppy who didn't think the rules applied to him in Iraq and then pulled the 'Don't you know who I am' routine on a busy US soldier.

Exactly what entitles the media to a free ride as 'part of the official cavalcade'? Just because you happen to work for a news outlet doesn't make you special. Are you somehow suggesting that you ought to be given privileges that ordinary citizens are not? it certainly seems that way. Kurtz continues his complaints by writing,
Reporters, meanwhile, were making their way along unmarked back roads, past moose crossings and flocks of geese, to find a home on an isolated cul-de-sac in Goffstown. There, Judy Lanza, a nurse, and her husband, Joe, a retired police officer, hosted Clinton in a small kitchen adorned with pumpkins, apple baskets, a cookie jar and a straw doll affixed to the wall.

For more than an hour, 30 journalists watched from the small, darkened living room as Clinton chatted, awkwardly at first, with the five preselected guests. Her rhetoric against health insurance companies was harsher than might have been expected. They give patients the "runaround," deny care, "slow-walk" the payment of bills, she declared. "This is all part of their business model. This is how they make money. . . . The small-business health-care market is really rigged."

From there, Clinton drifted into special education, meetings she had as first lady on religious tolerance, how she was "deeply involved" in the Northern Ireland peace process, and her plans for a "post-Kyoto agreement" on global warming. But although the meeting was staged for the assembled journalists, there was no chance for follow-up, and the event received virtually no coverage.

As Clinton made her way to the door, she observed: "All this good food -- can we feed the press?" But the press was feeling undernourished.

Oh, my heart bleeds for you poor undernourished members of the press. Of course, since most of the press wouldn't know real undernourishment if it walked up and hit them in the face, I have to take Kurtz's whines with a hearty pinch of salt. However, the fact that these juvenile complaints somehow found their way into the Washington Post says something about the mindset of the media.

Personally, I believe that if we have an informed electorate, one that actually follows the real events without relying on puffed-up, self-important and biased reporters like Kurtz, then we will have a better country., Unfortunately, the press as it exists today seems more concerned with their own prestige as opposed to the quality of the coverage they provide. Kurtz should be wondering about Hillary's mysterious Asian donors- not complaining about the lack of a campaign bus to cart his lazy behind from one place to another. Most of the blogging community, like Captain Ed Morrissey, the Power Line crew and many others in the upper echelon are used to being ordinary citizens. Despite the lack of a campaign bus, they have managed to uncover more of the real news associated with the campaign thsu far than all of the dinosaur media combined. Yet we do not hear them whining about having to actually drive themselves or *gasp* do their own research.

Could it be that bloggers (most of whom are not paid for their efforts) are actually getting the stories because they are interested in the real events, not the agenda that pervades most newsrooms? You won't find a blogger packing a so-called 'debate' with avowed opponents- he or she simply wants answers to questions that interest them. And the candidate needs to answer honestly or he or she will be rightfully skewered in said blogger's next post. If Kurtz and his colleagues in the 'mainstream' media shared that interest in getting the job done right, then maybe they wouldn't be such pariahs and their own trust ratings would be higher. Oh, and one more thing. If they actually put as much effort into finding the truth as the blogosphere, then maybe they wouldn't be hemmorhaging viewers. Just a thought....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Thoughts on Vista

As some of my devoted readers may recall, I wrote a couple of short pieces about my opinions on the Microsoft Vista operating system both before its release and two more that were published sortly after it released on February 2, 2007 and again on Febrary 6, 2007. These were based both on my experiences testing Vista's long-running 'beta' version code-named Longhorn, and my long experience with Microsoft products. Among other things, I noted security expert Harry Erwin of the University of Sunderland as saying that,
I think they may have gone overboard on security. Their programmer productivity has reportedly dropped to a level that they won't be able to sell Vista at its price point. Mac OS X has been beating them on price for some time now, and this may make it worse."

Now Captain Ed Morrisey who is himself no beginner at using computers weighing in on the (dis)advantages of using Microsoft Vista. Writes Captain Ed,
Just FYI, I have been using Microsoft systems since CPM DOS on the Apple IIe, and used to build my own computers from scratch until it got so cheap to buy pre-constructed systems about ten years ago. I worked as a net admin for a Fortune 100 company for a few years as a second hat during my call-center days. I'm not exactly a novice at this. I'm figuring that this will be my last Microsoft based system ever. The low price simply isn't worth the hassle any longer.

I wholeheartedly agree. Like the good captain, I have become accustomed to XP, though I hate Microsoft's penchant for thinking that they know better than I what I actually want to do. this tendency is most marked in Word, which is constantly trying to auto-format my text, but it is latent in virtually every Microsoft product I have ever used. However, Vista's tendencies for weird behavior, coupled with the many levels and the insanely high price have made me a permanent convert to Apple's far more robust OS X (although I am highly irate with Apple's decision to change the Software Update so that I cna no longer work with it running in the background. Bad APple! Bad Apple!)

However, Apple is much less intrusive and far more permissive in allowing users (especially expert user) wishes to be fulfilled. I wish that Apple had shown more marketing and sales acumen back during the OS wars, but that battle is forever lost. All we can do is try to force Microsoft to actually consider their customers once in a while.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Celebrity Sense

At least one celebrity understands the difference between fame and wisdom. Pat Sajak, host of the long-running game show 'Wheel of Fortune', wrote an opinion piece for the Human Events online magazine wherein he exploded the myth of celebrity wisdom. Wrote Sajak,
If any group of citizens is uniquely unqualified to tell someone else how to vote, it’s those of us who live in the sheltered, privileged arena of celebrityhood. It’s one thing to buy an ab machine because Chuck Norris recommends it (he’s in good shape, isn’t he?) or a grill because George Foreman’s name is on it (he’s a great guy, so it must be a great grill!), but the idea of choosing the Leader of the Free World based on the advice of someone who lives in the cloistered world of stardom seems a bit loony to me.

Pat Sajak is absolutely correct. Virtually no one in the pampered, unreal world of Hollywood or really any artistic venue has any idea of how real people live- people who actually have to go to work every day in order to pay the bills. Hollywood celebrities, Broadway stars, famous musicians, pop star and other celebrities- some of whom have very little substance to their fame (think Paris Hilton) live in a different world. Whether it is being paid to show up to clubs even though they are underaged, or being whisked to the front of every line, or living in homes stocked with every conceivable luxury, most celebrities have a very limited understanding of how the real world operates. And most of them have little or no understanding the of the historical realities that underlie modern politics.

Therefore, anyone who takes Barbra Streisand's advice is more of a fool than Miss S herself. After all, as Obi-wan Kenobi famously said to Han Solo in Star Wars Episode Four, "Who is the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him?" Miss Streisand is demonstrably a fool, with no real knowledge of history, politics or the realities of diplomacy. However, those who somehow think that because she has a marvellous voice she also is an expert on politics are even more foolish.

i have long admired Sajak for his surprisingly clear-eyed understanding that because he gets paid millions to ask people questions he does not have any right to claim he is better in other fields. He demonstrates this clear-headed approach by saving his best line for the end. He writes in concluding his opinion piece,
I suppose anything that gets people engaged in the political process is a good thing, but the idea that a gold record, a top-ten TV show or an Oscar translates into some sort of political wisdom doesn’t make much sense to me. Trust me, one’s view of the world isn’t any clearer from the back seat of a limo.

Pity that Mr. Sajak's understanding is not shared by more of his peers in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Perhaps they would not be held in higher esteem by the majority of Americans since their anti-Americanism is so pronounced. But at least they would be held in less contempt.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all my readers enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday. Posting has been light this week due to work and other concerns, but i expect to get back in the saddle come next week.

Who's Elitist Now?

They receive much, if not most, of their funding from billionaires. Their candidates for President in the past two elections have been wealthy men who either married money or inherited it. And their current front-runner for the 2008 election is a rich trial lawyer. So which American political party would I be referring to?

If you guessed the Democratic Party, please take a bow. According to a new study released by the Heritage Foundation, the majority of the wealthiest districts in the United States are represented by Democrats. According to the Washington Times, which reported the study in today's online edition
In a state-by-state, district-by-district comparison of wealth concentrations based on Internal Revenue Service income data, Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, found that the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional jurisdictions were represented by Democrats.

He also found that more than half of the wealthiest households were concentrated in the 18 states where Democrats hold both Senate seats.

Somewhat surprised? After all, the Democrats and their shills in the mainstream media love to talk about the Republicans as the party of the rich. However, it has been a fact for some time now that wealthy, super-rich billionaires such as George Soros and Warren Buffett fund the Democratic party, while the Republicans are financed by people more like Mr. Everyman. Remember too that the Democratic candidates in the past two Presidential elections have been John Kerry, who married the Heinz fortune and who maintains huge mansions, and Al Gore, who inherited his daddy's Occidental Petroleum (he rose to become vice-president) and Island Coal Company money. As an aside, the fact that Gore owes his wealth and position to his father's coal and oil connections (which are much more direct than those of George W. Bush, by the way) makes his current pose as an environmentalist more than a bit amusing. John Edwards, who has been a candidate as well, is himself a super-rich trial lawyer who has no qualms about looking down on his less-wealthy neighbors. And the study in fact reinforced that pattern of the Republicans as the party of Everyman. The Washington Times reported,
Mr. Franc's study also showed that contrary to the Democrats' tendency to define Republicans as the party of the rich, "the vast majority of unabashed conservative House members hail from profoundly middle-class districts."

I can't wait for this little tidbit to hit the news. Oh, wait. This is the American media. If they cannot even report the facts on the ground in Iraq now that things are clearly indicating that we are winning in every measurable way, they certainly won't change their favored tune regarding the real nature of their preferred party. This is why it is so important for us to get the word out. The media won't do it, and it is time Americans realized who is really on their side, and who is already bought and paid for by the elitists who want to remake America into something more closely resembling the former Soviet Union.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hillary's Donors

First it was Norman Hsu. Then it was the mysterious Chinatown donors. Now it turns out that yet another big Democratic donor with ties to the Hillary Clinton campaign has been arrested for impersonating a lawyer and a police officer.

According to, Mauricio Celis, a Democratic party activist in Corpus Christi was arrested and made released after posting 50,000 dollars bail.
Celis has contributed thousands of dollars to state and federal candidates, including the presidential campaign of Sen. Hilary Clinton. Several candidates for state office who accepted campaign cash from Celis have since donated the funds to charity.

Celis, 36, was indicted Friday on charges of impersonating a lawyer, impersonating a police officer, theft and perjury.

He has a controlling interest in the CGT Law Group of Corpus Christi even though he is not an attorney. Texas law prohibits anyone not licensed as a lawyer from owning a controlling interest in a law firm.

Interesting. It turns out that Celis is under fire in the South Texas town of Corpus Christi, where another attorney, one Thomas Henry, is launching an attack on Celis for practicing law without a license. Celis may also have impersonated a police officer, though it seems that he is a genuine reserve deputy. Not being familiar with the rules gtoverning use of a reserve deputy's badge, I cannot say if that charge is jusitifed.

However, it appears that Celis is very active among the Democratic fundraising circles, giving 4600 dollars to one Mikal Watts, a Democrat who is challenging for Republican John Cornyn's House seat. And it also appears that, like Hsu, Celis managed to become a big-time player in Democratic Party circles with little or no investigation.

There is an old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." One shady donor could easily have ben an honest mistake. however, when one has a history of shady donations as does Hillary Clinton, then perhaps it is time for we the voters to ask some hard questions about these donors, since the campaign either cannot or will not. And we don't want to be in a position of having buyers' regret come November 2008 if we cannot or will not ask these questions now. After all, the media won't ask them- it is too important for them to get Hillary into the White House.

Friday, November 16, 2007

NY Times Complains About US Control Of Internet

The New York Times newspaper headlined its article about the recently concluded United Nations-sponsored Internet conference in Brazil as US Control of Internet Remains Issue. However, as is usual with the Times, while the tone of the article was complaining about the fact that the United States maintains control over the core Internet, they offered no evidence that handing over control to a foreign or even worse, a UN-controlled entity would be better. As the Associated Press article used by the Times reports,
A U.N.-sponsored Internet conference ended Thursday with little to show in closing the issue of U.S. control over how people around the world access e-mail and Web sites.

With no concrete recommendations for action, the only certainty going forward is that any resentment about the American influence will only grow as more users from the developing world come online, changing the face of the global network.

Of course, while the AP and the Times reported that 'the only certainty going forward is that any resentment about the American influence will only grow;, they were unable to show that there are actually andy disadvantages to the current system. If thee is indeed 'resentment', neither the AP nor the Times were able to make any arguments to justify the resentment. And the AP and the Times were completely unable to present any evidence showing that forcing the US to give up control would bring any improvements.

The Internet grew out of the ARPANET created by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which created the first interlinked network of computer systems and eventually provided the backbone still used by the Internet today. the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, headquartered in Marina del Rey, California, is the main control for assigning domain names and Internet Protocol (IP) addresses worldwide. It appears that the simple fact that the United States government holds a veto over ICANN's operations and decisions has made some countries want to end US control and hand it over the to United Nations or some other non-US authority. But the US invented the Internet and to this day hosts some of the root servers. And there is no evidence that the US is doing anything to impede the free flow of information- in fact the United States is one of the few countries that has a consistent history of supporting and advancing freedom of information. As even the AP was forced to admit,
The United States insists that the existing arrangements ensure the Internet's stability and prevent a country from trying to, say, censor Web sites by pulling entries out of the domain name directories.

Supporters of the current system denounced the Russian proposal.

''The Russian proposal seeks to exponentially increase government interference in the ICANN process, introducing a dangerous and destabilizing force into a global Internet addressing system that has been a paragon of stability under the current oversight structure,'' said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a coalition of high-tech leaders like Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, eBay Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

The United States has a vested interest in the free exchange of information, and has a history of working to protect that free exchange. In contrast, the United Nations has a history of helping countries dominated by unelected and repressive governments (such as Venezuela, Hussein's Iraq, China, etc). Therefore, I cannot see that handing over control to the UN or any other non-US agency would bring any improvements. In addition, as the Internet is almost entirely a US creation, why should the US give up its role? The Times and the AP cannot present any answers to this question. Or would the Times and the AP prefer that countries such as China or Russia, neither of whom have a good record of providing free information, gain control of the Internet, as they would surely do if the UN takes control.

This is yet another example of empty-headed reporters, who somehow see the United States as the enemy, despite the patent fact that they would be unable to engage in their favored method of reporting through leaks under a truly repressive government, such as China's, begging for an action that ultimately will not benefit them. I sometimes wonder if most reporters have ever been taught how to perform critical analysis, since there are so many articles such as this generated. I wonder if the Times and the AP have thought through the consequences of forcing the US to give up control of the Internet. But the answer is almost certainly negative. After all, had they been capable of actually thinking the argument though to its logical conclusion, I doubt they would have gone into journalism- a discipline that is not known for its difficulty. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Virginia Store Calls Whites 'Gringos', Media Yawns

Is it acceptable for stores catering to Hispanics to use racial epithets when referring to Caucasian residents of the United States? Apparently so. According to the Washington Times online edition, a furniture store located in Alexandria, Virginia has posted a sign calling Americans 'gringos'. The Times reports that,
A sign outside the store at the intersection of North Beauregard and King streets reads, “Credito sin papeles de gringo.” In English, that could be translated to say “Credit without gringo papers.”

Blanca Granados, the store's assistant manager, translated the message to mean “just 'without white papers,' like Social Security or like that.”

'White papers'? Really? Ms. Granados is either completely ignorant or engaging in deliberate falsehoods. The word 'Gringo' as defined by Webster Online Dictionary,
grin·go [gring-goh] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -gos. Usually Disparaging.
(in Latin America or Spain) a foreigner, esp. one of U.S. or British descent.
[Origin: 1840–50, Americanism; < Sp: foreign language, foreigner, esp. English-speaking (pejorative); prob. alter. of griego Greek. The belief that word is from the song “Green Grow the Lilacs,” popular during U.S.-Mexican War, is without substance]

The Times story also picks up on the offensive history of the word. The story goes on to say,
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word gringo as “a disparaging term for a foreigner in Latin America, especially an American or English person.”

But the word “gringo” in the store's sign is not intended to offend anyone, Miss Granados said.

The term 'gringo' has long been a term used disparagingly towards Americans or Europeans in Latin America- something that Ms. Granados cannot possibly be ignorant of, especially if, as it seems, she is from a Latin American heritage. Therefore, for Ms. Granados to claim that the word is not intended to be offensive is roughly analogous to a white person claiming that the word 'greaser' is not intended to be offensive towards Hispanics. However, other than the Washington Times, I have not seen this story picked up by any other media outlets. When will the media begin holding minorities to the same standards they hold whites? Based on past experience, I'm not holding my breath. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Racial Epithet- Media Doesn't Include Party

It's time for another edition of Name That Party! According to New Orleans WDSU Channel 6, a candidate for state representative, one Carla Blanchard Dartez, used a racial insult when speaking with the local NAACP president. But somehow the sotry on WDSU's website completely managed to avoid mentioning Dartez's party affiliation. Hint- she's not a Republican.

According to the story posted by WDSU,
A state representative in a runoff election infuriated civil rights leaders after she ended a conversation with the mother of the NAACP's local president by saying, "Talk to you later, Buckwheat."

State Rep. Carla Blanchard Dartez, of Morgan City, acknowledged she made the remark during a Thursday night telephone conversation with Hazel Boykin to thank her for driving voters to the polls.

Buckwheat, a black child character in the "Little Rascals" comedies of the 1930s and '40s, is viewed as a racial stereotype demeaning to black people.

This would seem to be a fairly serious incident, as the media is hyper-sensitive to racial epithets when uttered by Republicans. One has only to look back to 2006 when a reference to the word 'macaca' by Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia sparked a nationwide media furor, and contributed to Senator Allen's defeat in the 2006 election. A representative story on Allen can be found at the Washington Post. As far as I recall, Senator Allen's party affiliation was prominently featured in every story on the subject, as it was in the Post's.

Calling someone 'Buckwheat', an obvious reference to a black character who s deemed to be an offensive stereotype, would seem to be a much more obvious racial epithet than the 'macaca' comment, which is defined by Webster's Dictionary as being "a genus of Old World monkeys including the rhesus monkey (M. mulatta) and other macaques."

Yet nowhere in the article on Dartez can her party affiliation be found, although her husband, one Lenny Dartez, who the story does appear to identify as a Democrat, writing,
But the "Buckwheat" remark is the latest bit of trouble for Dartez and her husband, Lenny, who is a member of the Democratic Party's State Central Committee.

I did a Google search on Mrs Dartez, and quickly discovered her official page at Louisiana's House of Representatives website. She is clearly identified as a Democrat. It took me roughly ten seconds to perform this Google search. Seems to me that WDSU could have done the same quite easily. I wonder if there could be some ideological reason why they wouldn't do that? Oh, no, not the professional media! They wouldn't do that, would they? I leave you to supply the probably answer. Hat tip to NewsBusters reader Duane Peyrot. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

NY Times: Soviet Spy is a Hero

Does the New York Times believe that anything detrimental to the well-being of the United States is to be celebrated? It would seem so. Whether the Times is betraying secret programs designed to protect America from Islamic terrorists or leading the charge for full access to American courts for alien enemies, their actions all seem intended to weaken America and strengthen America's enemies. This belief is on full display today with their loving portrayal of the life of Soviet spy George Koval, a trained Soviet agent who was responsible for the USSR's successful theft of the atomic bomb. As the Times writes,
He had all-American cover: born in Iowa, college in Manhattan, Army buddies with whom he played baseball.

George Koval also had a secret. During World War II, he was a top Soviet spy, code named Delmar and trained by Stalin’s ruthless bureau of military intelligence.

Atomic spies are old stuff. But historians say Dr. Koval, who died in his 90s last year in Moscow and whose name is just coming to light publicly, was probably one of the most important spies of the 20th century.

George Koval was a spy for the Soviet Union, and yet the Times never condemns Koval for his betrayal of the United States- a country that gave his parents refuge, and allowed him to gain a career as a highly regarded nuclear physicist. Instead, the Times writes of Koval,
Dr. Koval died on Jan. 31, 2006, according to Russian accounts. The cause was not made public. By American reckoning, he would have been 92, though the Kremlin’s statement put his age at 94 and some Russian news reports put it at 93.

Posthumously, Dr. Koval was made a Hero of the Russian Federation, the highest honorary title that can be bestowed on a Russian citizen. The Kremlin statement cited “his courage and heroism while carrying out special missions.”

Dr. Kramish surmised that he was “the biggest” of the atomic spies. “You don’t get a medal from the president of Russia for nothing,” he said.

The comment that Koval was "the biggest of the atomic spies" is as critical as the Times can allow itself to get. There is no discussion in the article of how badly Koval's betrayal hurt the United States, and the Times does not even consider the negative effects of Koval's spying. They only state that
By 1934, Dr. Koval was in Moscow, excelling in difficult studies at the Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology. Upon graduating with honors, he was recruited and trained by the G.R.U. and was sent back to the United States for nearly a decade of scientific espionage, from roughly 1940 to 1948.

How he communicated with his controllers is unknown, as is what specifically he gave the Soviets in terms of atomic secrets. However, it is clear that Moscow mastered the atom very quickly compared with all subsequent nuclear powers.

In addition to its failure to present Koval's spying in a negative light, the Times mainly presents Koval as the Soviet Union would have wished- a Hero. I can only surmise that, for the Times, anything that hurts America is to be celebrated.

In contrast, consider the Times' reporting of America's recent Congressional Medal of Honor winner, First Sergeant Paul Smith, who received a much less gushing story when reports of his heroism reached the Times. Smith, who is the first Medal of Honor winner since 1993 (the medal is extremely difficult to earn and most are present, like Smith's, posthumously), gave his life protecting his fellow Americans and was responsible for the defeat of a force of elite Iraqi Republican Guards in defense of the Baghdad Airport. Yet the Times's report of Smith's Medal of Honor- the highest award for gallantry an American can receive- contained fewer references to heroism than did the story on Koval. Yet Smith gave his life defending his country and his fellow Americans. Koval did his best to help an unfriendly power defeat his adopted country and lived a comfortable life in the USSR as a professor and soccer fan. Who's the real hero? To the New York Times, it is apparently Koval. I disagree. To me, it is Sergeant Smith- Koval is nothing more than one more traitor.

Hat tip to NewsBusters reader Denney Abraham. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Bobby Calvan: Arrogant Idiot

I missed this story over the past week, but cannot resist posting on it. Apparently Bobby Calvan, a staff reporter for the Sacramento Bee in California had a little confrontation with an enlisted soldier in Iraq. The cause of said confrontation? Calvan did not have the proper identification to pass a checkpoint. Instead of behaving in a civilized manner, Big Man Bobby tried to pull the 'Do You Know Who I Am?' card. Not only did this card fail resoundingly, Big Man Bobby then blogged about his arrogance on his blog. Not surprisingly, his readers failed to be impressed by his 'courage' and responded overwhelmingly negatively. Bobby's reaction? He pulled the entire blog, rather than respond.

Fortunately, by the time Big Man Calvan showed the world his courage in real adversity, several other bloggers had saved the original blog, including many of the comments. They can be read at Doc Weasel's blog.

UPDATE: The original blog entry is now back up, minus the comments, along with Calvan's following note:
(NOTE: This post was previously edited, then removed. By doing so, I was informed, I have violated blog protocol. I have reposted it in its entirety, with the caveat that it was reproduced using a post from another blogger who had preserved my original post.)

Notice that Big Man Calvan is so brave when facing an American soldier trying to do his duty (protecting Calvan), but cannot even face negative comments on his personal blog. And also note how Calvan admits that he doesn't know blog protocol. This is a professional reporter? Someone paid to present the news and who is supposed to be a master of communication? Yet he cannot handle criticism and doesn't understand that he can't simply delete content that does not meet universal acclaim. Where in journalism school did he learn that? Or is this the Old Media tradition- never admit mistakes or slanted coverage and pretend that content one dislikes does not exist?

This arrogant little Mr. Big perfectly typifies all that is bad about the media, and explains why so many are abandoning the dinosaur media. As so many of the commentators wrote, this little boy is no MichAel Yon. Perhaps if Calvan spent some time with Mr. Yon, he MIGHT learn what real reporting is all about. of course, that would require him to leave his arrogant attitude at the door and also to actually report, as opposed to bloviate. Two things that I fear are beyond Calvan's capabilities. After all, he is merely a media hack, not a real journalist like Yon.

By the way- Michael Yon subsists entirely on his own resources, so drop something in his tip jar if you can. It is brave journalists like Yon that we rely on to counter the propaganda propagated by inflated asses such as Calvan.

Hat tips to Michelle Malkin and Glenn Reynolds.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Remembering Torch

This is one in an intermittent series of posts on the history of the United States Navy.

Today is the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Allied amphibious invasion of North Africa, code-named Operation Torch. Under the overall command of General Dwight Eisenhower,with subordinate officers including Major General George S. Patton and Army Air Corps Major General James Doolittle, Allied forces simultaneously attacked Casablanca, Oran and Algiers on the night of November 8, 1942. Although Vichy French naval units fought back, the U.S. Navy suffered no casualties, while sinking thirteen French ships.

Torch's main importance was a test run for the great invasions of France on June 6, 1944. Torch provided the first chance for a combined Allied amphibious operation, and until D-Day, was the largest amphibious operation ever attempted. In addition, many of the techniques used successfully in the invasion of France were first tested during the North African campaign, including the use of a split British-American air command and multiple simultaneous landings.

Torch led to the eventual defeat of the German Army in North Africa, and was an important step in the path that eventually led to the invasion of France in 1944. In addition, Torch provided the first experience for Eisenhower as a combined Commander-in-Chief, and proved the Allies could carry off a combined campaign of extreme complexity with success.

Symbol of Hope In Baghdad

Michael Yon, the intrepid reporter, photo-journalist and mil-blogger extraordinaire, has posted a remarkable image of the progress being made in Baghdad, despite the best efforts of mainstream media, defeatists Democrats and Iranian money. As linked below, this shows the cross of St. John's Catholic Church being replaced by a mix of Christian and Muslim Iraqis.

St. John's Cross in Baghdad

If only the mainstream media would cover events such as this as assiduously as they list the casualties and complain about their lack of amenities in the Green Zone, perhaps more Americans would have a better understanding of the events actually taking place on the ground in Iraq, and maybe they would not be so pessimistic. Maybe if the media actually carried out their task of reporting and allowing the public to decide, and if they reported equally on good as they do on the bad, then the American people would be better served and would have a greater appreciation for the events occurring in Iraq. Of course, if that happened, then maybe the current President would have better ratings and that would defeat the entire purpose of putting a Democrat in the White House in 2008.

I wish the media and the Democratic Party understood that politics is less important than standing together as a country. But it seems they believe that to be a good American, you have to help destroy everything that makes your country great first. I wish we had more reporters like Michael Yon.

As a reminder, Michael Yon is entirely self-financed. he receives no support from any media organization. If you like his work, I strongly urge you to contribute to Michael's tip jar or to purchase his books, as that will allow him to continue his work in Iraq of reporting the real news- the news that Iraq is a place of hope- despite the best efforts of the mainstream media to hide that news.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More DHS Incompetence

I have written before about the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). What was in essence a good idea- to combine intelligence and security into one accountable department, has ballooned into yet another bloated government bureaucracy. The supposedly professional screeners of TSA miss over 60 percent of smuggled weapons, the former INS seems to care more about helping illegal aliens than legal residents and petitioners, and of course there is absolutely no accountability in any of these bureaucracies.

Now comes news that the DHS not only cannot seem to explain how someone gets on their terrorist watch list, they also cannot seem to utilize any common sense regarding people whose names are the same as suspected terrorists. According to USA Today, more than 15000 people have appealed to DHS to clear their names. Naturally enough, DHS can't even point them to online forms to help them clear their names. USA Today reports,
The complaints have created such a backlog that members of Congress are calling for a speedier appeal system that would help innocent people clear their names so they won't fall under future suspicion. Among those who have been flagged at checkpoints: toddlers and senior citizens with the same names as suspected terrorists on the watch list.

"To leave individuals in this purgatory is un-American," says Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., who says she'll introduce legislation to try to streamline the process.

The Homeland Security Department says it gets about 2,000 requests a month from people who want to have their names cleared. That number is so high that the department has been unable to meet its goal of resolving cases in 30 days, says Christopher White, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, which handles the appeals. He says the TSA takes about 44 days to process a complaint.

This is ridiculous. There is absolutely no excuse for the DHS to take over a month and a half to clear someone's name. This is yet another proof that government is inherently inefficient and that we should never trust government to do what we can ourselves probably do better. National security is one of the things that government is supposed to do well at, and though the Armed Forces are good examples of government's special talents, DHS is an example of all that is bad about government. As an example of just how blind and arrogant government bureaucracy can be, one of the inconvenienced is a 6-year old toddler, John Anderson. As USA Today reports,
Christine Anderson says she has tried repeatedly to get her child's name cleared, but she can't find the right forms on the TSA website and none have come in the mail after officials promised to send them. "No one can give any answers to why my son is on the list or really how to get him off," she says.

So not only can DHS not explain how a six-year old got onto the no-fly list in the first place, they cannot seem to offer any help to getting the poor child off said list! DHS, like most government bureaucracy, is unaccountable and needs to be brought up sharply. There is no question that we must do a better job of protecting our borders. But the DHS is an monstrosity and needs to have some accountability brought into its operations. One would wish that the Press would spend some time on forcing accountability from the massive government programs they try so hard to foist on us, ass opposed to exposing national secrets that even they admit are not illegal.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hillary's Thesis

New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton likes to present herself as all things to all people. In this she attempts to copy her husband's incomparable political skills, as well as channel his complete lack of principle- he would do whatever it took to get elected and stay elected. Hillary, however, is not a political chameleon like her husband, but comes across more as a hard ideological warrior- determined to inflict as much socialism as she thinks she can get away with. Her attempt at government-run healthcare is one clue. And her refusal to get specific on how she intends to implement her proposed entitlement programs is yet another. But there is an ever more revealing piece of evidence.

In 1969, as a senior at Wellesley College, Hillary Rodham wrote a senior thesis on the activist organizer Saul Alinsky. Alinsky was no ordinary organizer- he was a committed Marxist who believed that violent revolution was the correct way to make changes. Alinsky wrote,
"There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevsky said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution.

Though Hillary Rodham rejected Alinsky's grassroots organizing as 'outdated', she was apparently enough in agreement with him that he offered her a job in his organization- one she turned down in favor of law school, saying she needed to organize her mind better. However according to MSNBC, she was apparently in agreement with at least some of Alinsky's goals, as she later wrote.
“I agreed with some of Alinsky's ideas,” she explained in “Living History,” her 2003 biography, “particularly the value of empowering people to help themselves. But we had a fundamental disagreement. He believed you could change the system only from the outside. I didn't.”

To me this sounds like Hillary is even more dangerous than Alinsky- she wanted (and possibly still wants) to impose her brand of socialism through the power of government, where Alinsky wanted to impose it via revolution. This is more frightening because Marxists (who number socialists among their number) really are all about power- an elite class ruling over the less-favored. However, to see if the thesis actually supports the idea of Hillary as a Marxist I am currently reading the thesis, and will be updating this post as I slowly work my way through Hillary's prose. In the meantime, you can read the thesis and decide if this might represent a window into Madame Hillary's current mindset. Read the whole thing and decide for yourself.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

Bono Gets It

The press loves to headline celebrities who speak out against President Bush, the war against Islamic fundamentalism and anything else that falls in with the media's favorite storylines. How will they report it when a celebrity does not hew to the accepted partyline? Bono, frontman of the music group U2, is about to find out.

Bono is one of the few celebrities for whom I confess to some admiration. His efforts for Africa, unlike many other celebrities, appear to be honest and he has shown himself to be unconcerned with who helps him, as shown by his workings together with President Bush- a state of affairs that would be anathema to most of his fellow celebrities. Now comes evidence that Bono also understands the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists such as al-Quaeda, and his courage to call evil by it's name. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Bono said of the Islamic fundamentalists,

I want to be very, very clear, however: I understand and agree with the analysis of the problem. There is an imminent threat. It manifested itself on 9/11. It's real and grave. It is as serious a threat as Stalinism and National Socialism were. Let's not pretend it isn't.

Bono goes on to show that he does not engage in Bush Derangement Syndrome, despite the urgings of the Rolling Stone's anti-Bush reporter. In response to the reporter's statement that "But this Administration destroyed that." when they discussed the outpouring of support for the United States immediately following the attacks of Spetember 11, Bono says of President Bush,
There was a plan there, you know. I think the president genuinely felt that if we could prove a model of democracy and broad prosperity in the Middle East, it might defuse the situation.

The Rolling Stone reporter, one Anthony DeCurtis, clearly has no understanding of diplomacy, and certainly not of national security. He has only a vague idea that Bush Is Bad. Pity, but considering the source, unsurprising. Bono, despite his liberalism, is someone I can respect, because he understands that the threat is a real one and it is not one that can be defused by talking. In this, as in his statement that "I try to stick to my pitch, and it's an abuse of my access for me to switch subjects.", he is worthy of respect, even though one may not agree with him. Bono is mainly interested in his efforts for Africa, he knows that this is something that gets him access and he did not want to abuse it. And for that also, I respect him.

Now, since Bono has not hewed to the party line on the Evil of Bush, what are the bets as to whether Bono's understanding will receive any space in the mainstream media? I for one am not optimistic. Hat tip to Tim Blair. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Truth From the Mouths of...

Craigslist is filled with absolute unmitigated garbage. Whether it is the 'I wanna start a band' kids who can barely understand a major third or the rants of ignorant gang-bangers or racist punks, or the desperate hook-up attempts of silly young things and creepy oldsters, most of what one can find on Craigslist is not worth the e-paper it is printed on. However, every once in a while, there is illumination from the most unlikely sources.

In the interests of complete disclosure, I do use Craigslist. I have actually met and played with a number of talented musicians who enjoy my genre of music on Craigslist. And I do occasionally peruse the 'best of Craigslist' for my amusement. And it was there that today I read a rant on parenting that is so simple and clear that it deserves reproduction. If the author reads it here, please forgive me for quoting, but this is something that simply is not heard enough today.

On the topic pf parenthood, the unknown author wrote,
How can we expect our children to do well in life if we're passing the buck of raising them to tv trash, video games, overworked teachers with way to many kids and ofcourse our favorite...rap stars. (Ya I know, your rant about it being just music. Murder, rape, drugs, crime, violence etc is not "just music".)

So call me whatever you want, I'm the last guy to have love for the "gangsta's". But keep in mind, they were all born innocent. If a huge portion of the young population are turning bad it's not because there's something in the water. It's because we're failing, and it's up to us to stop it.
Put down the remote/keyboard/phone/whatever. Get off the couch or out of the office. Stop taking all that "time for yourself you so desperately need" and go outside and spend some time with your kids.

I know you're tired. Deal with it.

I know it's been a long day. Deal with it.

I know they want to be left alone. Make them deal with it.

The day you became a parent you stopped being number one. Your wants and desires are insignificant to the task at hand. You'll have time to deal with that in eighteen years when you've lived up to your responsibilities. The most important thing in your life is your child. So suck it up, stop all the bullsh*t excuses and get out there and be a parent.

This is absolutely spot-on. Ultimately, children are not the responsibility of schools, churches, football/baseball/basketball/track/etc coaches and certainly not the government. If you are not prepared to sacrifice your time to help your child become a good person, then you have failed your child. Read the whole thing, then go home and BE A PARENT. It's your responsibility and your privilege to be your children's parent. So do it. And if your son or daughter ends up a slut like Paris Hilton or a jailbird like [insert rapper's name here], then that is your responsibility as well. As the unknown parent wrote, "...they were all born innocent.". Yes they were.

Friday, November 02, 2007

English Teachers Beware

The English-teaching business in Japan has struck a major speed bump, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal reports that with the recently-announced bankruptcy of Nova Corporation, Japan's largest private English school, there is now a large group of English teachers and students who are hurting due to the scandal.

Teaching English is one of the best ways for non-Japanese (especially those who have no command of the difficult Japanese language) to make a living in Japan, and Nova was the largest of the many private schools that sprang up to meet the need. But it appears that Nova's business practices were causing problems that eventually landed the company in bankruptcy proceedings. The Journal reports that,
The company, renowned in Japan for the hip-shaking pink bunny in its commercials, had been on a hiring binge, setting up recruitment offices in the U.S. and the United Kingdom and prowling college campuses offering jobs.

Nozomu Sahashi, the company's quirky founder, was fired last week as president and has dropped from sight. Now, worrisome details are trickling out: The 56-year-old executive had quietly moved profits from publicly traded Nova to his private company, a court-appointed administrator alleged at a news conference. The administrators, who are scrambling to find a sponsor to help turn around Nova, showed reporters his lavish office, which has a Jacuzzi, a tea room and a secret bedroom.

Now, the Nova teachers are jobless and those who have lived from paycheck to paycheck are stuck in Japan. Some have been threatened with eviction from their apartments because Nova, which had provided housing and deducted the rent from teachers' salaries, stopped paying rent months ago. In the past week, 300 Nova teachers have swarmed the usually orderly employment agency office in western Tokyo, called Hello Work, seeking jobs.

I was once an English teacher in Japan. After graduating university over a decade ago, and disgusted with the recession during Clinton's first term (yes, Virginia, unless you worked in Silicon Valley there was a recession), I pulled out my savings and went to Japan. I stayed there for four years, learned the language, and made a lot of good friends. But even when I was there, the market for private English lessons was not what it was during the lavish bubble economy of the late 1980s. I worked for a number of private schools teaching mainly university students and businessmen, and gave private lessons on the side. I never worked for Nova, but I had friends who did, and their descriptions do not surprise me. The pay was low, the hours long and the teacher was utterly dependent on Nova for everything.

This should provide a warning. If you are planning to see a foreign country and think that teaching English is a good way to do it, learn at least enough of the local language to get by before you spend your savings on a plane ticket!

Media Bias Revealed Again- Will Media Report It?

It is no secret that the mainstream media tilt decidedly towards the Democratic Party in their coverage of political issues. A new study by Harvard University has underscored that partisan tilt. The survey, as reported by Investor's Business Daily (IBD) reports that,
Just like so many reports before it, a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy — found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.

Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which "produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic candidates than on Republicans."

The most flagrant bias, however, was found in newspapers. In reviewing front-page coverage in 11 newspapers, the study found the tone positive in nearly six times as many stories about Democrats as it was negative.

CNN Lived up to it's reputation as a liberal bastion, but Fox News, which Democrats portray as being a 'conservative' network, was found to be not the most favorable toward Republicans. That honor, surprisingly, went to MSNBC, though the survey found Fox to be the most negative toward Democratic candidates, reporting that,
CNN was the most hostile toward Republicans, MSNBC, surprisingly, the most positive. MSNBC was also the most favorable toward Democrats (47.2%), Fox (36.8%) the most critical.

Yet Fox, despite the Democratic claims of being 'conservative', only ran negative stories toward Democrats 36.8 percent of the time. That means that Democrats were portrayed favorably on Fox over 60 percent of the time. If Fox is 'conservative', what does that make the rest of the mainstream media, since they clearly are far more positive toward Democrats than Fox?

All of this should be of no surprise to anyone who watches media coverage of the major parties in the United States. What will be a surprise is if any of the major news outlets decides to cover this to correct the problem. Since the media in recent months has sat on stories about the good economy and the improvements in Iraq, I won't hold my breath.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Posting will be light this week due to demands of work, family and Hallowe'en. I trust everyone is enjoying the current iteration of All Hallow's Eve.

happy Haunting!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Media Keep Pushing Bad Economy- In Republican Administrations

The U.S. economy by most markers is performing admirably. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have had 49 consecutive months of job growth. Unemployment is at a historic low of 4.7 percent, the average number of jobs created is holding steady at around 100,000 per month and real after-tax personal income has increased by 12.5 percent. Yet, according to a CNN poll, half of Americans think the country is in a recession. As Larry Elder writes today at, the reason can be found in the way that the media portray the economy. And that portrayal differs dramatically when a Republican is in office as opposed to a Democrat. Elder writes,
What, then, accounts for the pessimism? Well, take a look at the mainstream media. Two professors, John Lott, economist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Kevin A. Hassett, the Institute's director of economic policy studies, looked at newspaper articles on the economy. They wrote, "We found that newspaper headlines reporting economic news on unemployment, gross domestic product (GDP), retail sales and durable goods tended to be much more frequently negative when a Republican was in the White House. And this was true even after accounting for the economic numbers on which the stories were based and how those numbers were changing over time." So bad economic news becomes less bad economic news with a Democrat sitting in the White House. With a Republican in the White House, however, good economic news becomes less good, and bad becomes even worse.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the way that the media react to Republican versus Democratic Administrations. Remember how the media played up the Clinton economy, although it was confined much more to the high-tech sector than the Reagan economy of the 1980s? Remember how the campaign mantra was 'it's the economy, stupid'? Yet when the economy really is doing well, the media can't be bothered to report it.

Like so much else occurring under this Administration, the media cannot or will not report the good news, whether it be the dramatic drop in violence in Iraq, the success in bringing North Korea back to the bargaining table, the lack of attacks against this country since September 11, 2001 and the booming economy. The media, like much of the Democratic Party, has invested too much into the defeat of this Administration and the election of a Democrat to the White House to allow anything that might upset that program to see the light of newsprint. We can only hope that American voters can become responsible enough to search out the facts, rather than relying on the partisan propaganda organs that claim to be 'news providers'. However, one bright spot is that despite the media's determined negativity, 51 percent of Americans still know the truth. Cross-posted on NewsBusters

Yon On Beauchamp

The story of Scott Thomas Beauchamp has been pretty well chewed over and there is little left to write. However, it has taken independent journalist extraordinarie Michael Yon to write the final words on Beauchamp himself. After spending time with Beauchamp's former battalion commander, Yon find that the officer, one LTC Glaze, was protective of Beauchamp and did not want the private to be the object of any unnecessary attention. Yon wrote,
Lapses of judgment are bound to happen, and accountability is critical, but that’s not the same thing as pulling out the hanging rope every time a soldier makes a mistake.

Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it.

So much depends on soldiers who are sometimes all too human.

The commander said I was welcome to talk with Beauchamp, but clearly he did not want anyone else coming at his soldier. LTC Glaze told me that at least one blog had even called for Beauchamp to be killed, which seems rather extreme even on a very bad day. LTC Glaze wants to keep Beauchamp, and hopes folks will let it rest. I’m with LTC Glaze on this: it’s time to let Beauchamp get back to the war. The young soldier learned his lessons. He paid enough to earn his second chance that he must know he will never get a third.

Though Beauchamp is close, I’m not going to spend half a day tracking him down when just this morning I woke to rockets launching from nearby and landing on an American base. Who has time to skin Beauchamp? We need him on his post and focused.

I confess that I was one of those who wrote somewhat savagely about Beauchamp. I regret doing that now. As Yon said, we need Private Beauchamp on his post. Asked to choose between running away and staying to rebuild his credibility with the members of his unit, Beauchamp, to his credit, stayed and is doing a very difficult task. And his colleagues, to their credit, are allowing him to make those amends. One of the most important tenets of military service is the idea that your buddy has your back. Private Beauchamp's battalion mates have recognized that Beauchamp made a mistake, but they are also recognizing the courage it takes to admit and try to atone for that mistake. They are not going to allow anyone to distract him from that, and they certainly are not going to allow him to be vilified for that mistake. These young men and women are showing far more maturity and class than most of the media who so loves to portray them as savages.

For me, I cannot forget the vicious lies he wrote about his fellow servicemen and servicewomen. But he is doing his best to atone. He deserves a second chance, and if his mates are willing to grant that to him, who am I to do less? As for the New Republic? That is an entirely different affair. I strongly recommend reading the whole thing, and then comparing Michael Yon's jounalistic ethos with that of most of the mainstream media. Given a choice, I would rather trust Yon than any media organ that needs to hide behind 'the editors'. Hat tip to Captain's Quarters.

A Terminator for President?

I have seen some suggestions that Arnold Schwarzenegger, currently the Governor of California, could be the star that the Repulican party has long awaited. However, as much as I dislike to throw cold water on other's dreams, there are a few problems with this scenario.

Problem Number One is the simple fact that the United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Paragraph Five clearly states,
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Simply put, this disqualifies Governor Schwarzenegger from becoming President. Although I have absolutely no doubts of Governor Schwarzenegger's loyalty to this country, the COnstitution disqualifies any non-native-born citizen from being elected PResident. Governor Scwarzzenegger was born in Austria. Therefore he cannot become President unless this part of the Constitution is re-written.

Problem Number Two assumes that somehow Problem Number One is legally circumvented. However, Governor Schwarzenegger shares some of the same strengths and weaknesses as Rudy Giuliani. Both men are relatively liberal on social issues and the Republican Party is much more conservative. Should former Mayor Giuliani win the REpublican nomination, this would not perhaps pose as great a problem, but at the present time, I cannot see Governor Schwarzenegger gaining much greater approval than Mayor Giuliani.

In conclusion, I think Governor Schwarzenegger would be a good President. He has done an acceptablee job as Governor, especially considering that California's Democratic Party is one of the most violently Left-leaning in the entire nation. However, until and unless the two major issues delineated above are somehow resolved, Governor Schwarzenegger cannot become President of the United States. If the Republican Party is looking for a future star, I would suggest looking no further than Louisiana, where Republican Bobby Jindal, an American born of Indian parents, has just won election to the Governorship with over fifty percent of the vote. Should Governor Jindal perform as competently as he has in the past, he would be a wonderful candidate in 2012, should the Democrats win the White House in 2008.