Friday, August 31, 2007

Media Ignore Poland Anniversary In Diana Deluge

The world's media are busy mourning the death of the Princess Diana ten years ago. While they are mourning the fact that they lost a ready-made newsmaker who shared many of their goals, they have forgotten to remember the anniversary of a far more important event than the death of a minor celebrity, famed only for her beauty.

As I was reminded by Lead and Gold, today is the twenty-seventh anniversary of the Polish communist government agreeing to the demands of striking shipyard workers. This surrender by the Communists of Poland presaged the breaking loose of the satellite nations of the SOviet Union's Iron Curtain and led directly to the fall of the U.S.S.R. As Lead and Gold writes,
The strike marked the beginning of the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are, rightly, given the greatest share of credit for winning the Cold War. But Lech Walesa and John Paul II played indispensable roles.


In the long twilight struggle against Stalinism, the workers of Poland were the first light of sunrise.

Yes, they were. But you won't see a murmur of this immensely important anniversary in the mainstream media. So far, there has been not a single mention of this anniversary on the sites of CNN, ABC News, MSNBC, CBS News, Yahoo News or the New York Times. For journalists, it is an major inconvenience that those darn Poles had to begin the march toward freedom from the chattering classes preferred political system. So they continue to blather about Diana's death and try to ignore remembering things far more important. Crosss-posted on NewsBusters.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

New York Secretly Tracks Employees: Press Yawns

A judge in New York has recommended that a city employee be fired for leaving work early. Fair enough. However, there are a few questions I would like to raise in regards to this decicion.

Firstly, the employee in question, one Mark Halpin, was issued a city phone without being todld that it contained a GPS system that would be used to track his movements. this sounds suspiciously like entrapment to me. Secondly, it turns out that halpin often showed up for for work as many as two hours earlier than hsi shift began. However, the judge did not take that into account. According to the New York Post,
Halpin questioned the reliability of the data and argued that his privacy was invaded, since officials tracked him when he wasn't at work.
In fact, the data found Halpin on numerous occasions turned up early for his job, sometimes at 6 a.m. His shift started at 8 a.m.
Despite the extra hours Halpin put in without pay, Richard ruled that it didn't mitigate his early departures and recommended he be fired.

This seems incredible to me on a couple of counts.The fact that a judge- a member of a profession who is not known either for their promptness or their ability to be on time (just see how many cases drag on forever)- would not take into account that Halpin actually was apparently willing to come in early without pay on a number of occasions seems to send a very bad message. If coming in ealry and working on one's own dime doesn't allow one to occasionally leave early, then something iss badly wrong with the system. And the fact that it apparently doens't count at all with a judge doesn't exactly make a person want to put in any unpaid extra work, since it will nto count positively in the event of a problem.

My second and larger problem with this story is the privacy issue. According to the story, the judge had no problem with the city using a system to track employeees without warning them of same.
She dismissed concerns about whether the city had to warn Halpin in advance of the cellphone's tracking abilities.
"The department [of Education] is not expected to notify its employees of all the methods it may possibly use to uncover their misconduct," Richard decided.
"The undisputed intent of issuing the cellphone with GPS was for the department to be able to determine the whereabouts of its supervisors in the field."

If I were Halpin, I would be talking to my lawyer. Not only has the judge apparently decided that Halpin's early arrivals are not important, she also does not appear to have a problem with a tracking system being used unbeknownst to its subjects. And she admitted in court that the only reason the phones were fitted with GPS was to track employee movements. yet the employees weere never told of this. Isn't this the heart of the screams that erupted wwhen the NSA's foreign (NOT domestic) eavesdropping program became known? Where is the outrage from the New York Times? CNN? Any media organ? The Post simply reported this as a straight story, with none of the angt that accompanied their coverage of the NSA program, yet this seems much more sinister than the NSA profgram. Here we really do have an organization (in this case the City of New York) keeping track of itss employees and wathcing their movements without their knowing or their consent.

Ultimately, this is why Congress needs to revisit the entire issue of surveillance and determine what is and what is not illegal. Judges and the court ssystem are not qualified to decide cases like this. They simply do not understand modern technology. This judge, if she had any clue, should have thrown out the case on the basis of invasion of privacy. Remember, it was the judiciary that discover a right to abortion in an enumbra of a privacy right. Surely thiss invasion of privacy is more egregious? Of course, thiss case has no possibility of embarrassing President Bush. perhapss that iss why the major media has chosen to cover it the way they have. I guarantee if Halpin were a Muslim- especially an indicted terrorist, the media would be all over this invasion of privacy. If the U.S. government were involved in any way, the ACLU, the media and anyone else who could woul be screaming to high heaven. But of course, that would call for both consistency and for objectivity- not something the major media has proven themselves to be very good at.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Most Americans Believe Iraq Victory Possible: Press Misses Story

A new Zogby Poll says that 54 percent of Americans believe Iraq is not a lost cause. However, the mainstram media have so far not managed to report much if anything on the startling new poll.

A majority of Americans - 54% - believe the United States has not lost the war in Iraq, but there is dramatic disagreement on the question between Democrats and Republicans, a new UPI/Zogby Interactive poll shows. While two in three Democrats (66%) said the war effort has already failed, just 9% of Republicans say the same.

Many Democrats, seeing the fact that the surge appears to be working, have realized that their defeatist attitudes and willingness to surrender may cost them dearly in the enxt election, have changed their tune somewhat, or, like the New York Times, have merely moved the goalposts of what constitutes victory. However, the major media, who have been overwhelmingly in favor of a precipitous defeat seem to be a little slow in reporting that their years of negative reporting and defeatism have not yet managed to dissuade a majority of their countrymen from wanting to win.

As of 1637 Pacific time today, the New York Times had still not put the new poll on its front page. ABC News seems to think that audio of Senator Craig's police interview is more compelling- they also have not yet mentioned the new poll. MSNBC also has not yet posted anything regarding the new poll; neither has CBS News, which has had time to post a top story about a teenager who posted a nude picture of his ex-girlfriend on MySpace. CNN also has the Senator Larry Craig story front and center- not a mention of the new Zogby poll.

So let me recap- bad news about how Americans view the Iraq conflict gets front page coverage. The news that most Americans believe the United States can win is ignored? Just another day for the liberal media, I gather. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Globalization- A Wonderful Thing

There is a product in Japan called SalonPas (サロンパス), which is a pad that you stick onto your skin over an area that is experiencing aches and pains. According to the SalonPas US webite,
Katakori is a Japanese word used to describe physical symptoms like the stiffness in your neck and shoulders that reflect the amount of effort you put into a demanding, stressful day at work. More than just a medical term, Katakori is an everyday topic of conversation around the world. SALONPAS® offers soothing relief from the daily pain and strain of Katakori, allowing you to enjoy a healthier, more physically active lifestyle.

Both my (Japanese) wife and I have used SalonPas extensively, and one of the things we have been regretting is that this wonderful product was not available in the United States. Until now, that is...

Costco is now selling SalonPas both in stores and online. So if you are suffering from nerve of muscle tension and stress, this stuff is wonderful for soothing your discomfort. And according to my source, it appears that another Japanese product, Roto eyedrops, is available at Wal-Mart, though a search of their site did not turn it up.

I think globalization is a Very Good Thing, personally- at least as long as it brings things like SalonPas and Roto to my neighborhood shopping area. Hat tip to Expat Leo.

Economy Good: Media Disregards Story

The Drudge Report has a front-page headline about the good news from the economy this morning. The headline links to an extensive story in Bloomberg News covering the economic news in detail. But it seems that for the majority of the media, this is not news that they wish to highlight.

While the New York Times did not appear to consider this news as important as the report on the Viriginia Tech shootings, they did place a link to a short summary of the news on their front page in the 'Other News' section. On the other hand, CNN has so far not even mentioned the good economic news. ABC News has the Chinese toy-recall story placed prominently on their main page, but also seems to have missed the economic news as of 0825 hours Pacific time.

As for the other major news networks, MSNBC does have a link on their front page, stating the 4 percent growth that is the heart of the eceonomic report. Unlike the times, MSNBC did consider the economic news to be one of their top stories.

CBS News considered the Virginia Tech report, a story on an audit of Iraqi leaders and a record temperature in Phoeniz all important enough to be top stories. However, as of 0832 Pactiic time this morning, one had to scroll down to 'Economic News' in order to discover that Economy Grows Despite Housing Woes. There is not a single mention of the 4 percent growth numbers.

Fox News has a link under "Latest news' that announces the 4 percent growth numbers. Surprisingly for a "right-wing" news outlet, Fox also do not have these numbers as their main headline- that honor was reserved for the GAO Iraq progress report and a story on Senator Hillary Clinton's Chinese money. However, their story was fairly detailed, unlike that of the New York Times.

All in all, it seems that the New York Times, ABC, Fox and MSNBC found the economic news worthy of reporting in some manner, though none of them made it their leading story. However, CNN did not even have a link and CBS buried it as far as they could. One would almost think that the media had some interest in not reporting this news. It is a pity that good news does not get the same press as bad news, but then it would seem that as long as George W. Bush occupies the White House that the media in this country will do their utmost to downplay any postitives.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters. Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Clintons' China Connection Resurfaces

One of the most overlooked stories of the past decade was the Clinton White House's ties to Chinese money-raisers and possibly money-launderers. When Clinton was President, one of the major fund-raisers was a Chinese group that was tied to possibly illegal campaign contributuions from chinese military officials. Though there was an inquiry, most of the principals- Johnny Chung, John Huang, Charlie Trie, Maria Hsia, fled the country to avoid giving tesitmony and possibly being indicted. Therefore, Congress was never able to get to the bottom of the scandal. However, Congressional members of both parties said at the time that they belived that China had indeed attempted to influence U.S. elections.
President Clinton and his senior foreign policy advisers disagree with senators of both parties who have concluded China had a plan to influence U.S. elections illegally, according to administration officials, who said high-level White House discussions last week reaffirmed there is so far no cause for taking punitive steps against Beijing.

"We have received the relevant briefings," White House press secretary Michael McCurry said. "We believe there's no basis for any change in our policy toward China, which is one of engagement."

This has been the consistent White House line. What changed last week was that Clinton became newly isolated in his insistence that China's leaders still are entitled to benefit of the doubt. Others who have received the same "relevant briefings," including administration supporters such as Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John Glenn (D-Ohio), have reached the opposite conclusion.

This is interesting as Senator Hillary Clinton once again has major campaign contributions coming from Asian sources that appear to be fairly well hidden. An unknown fundraiser, a Mr. Norman Hsu, has given over one million dollars to the Clinton campaign, and apparenlty hass organized many other contributions as well. One address that keeps turning up is a house in Daly City, Californai where a mail-carrier lives. Yet thiss address is listed ass the source for a nuimber of contributions. The amount is well beyond what a mail-carrier could afford. So how can thiss be the source for these contributions?

Without more information, this must remain conjecture, but one has to wonder if the Chinese money machine- dedicated to putting the most China-sympathetic leader possible into office- has picked Hillary Clinton as their candidate. The Manchurian cnadidate may be raising its ugly heead once again. When will the mainstram media pick up on thiss story? And when will they make the connection to the many quetions asked of Clinton's husband about his own Chinese connection? There is also one other interesting point. The Senator who led the investiagtion into Clinton's probably illegal Chinese campaign contributions was none other than Fred Thompson of Tennessee- a possible Presidential opponent for Senator Clinton in 2008.

UPDATE: The inestimable Michelle Malkin has discovered that the mysterious Mr. Hsu is fugitive from justice. It appears that Hsu pleaded guil;ty to grand theft, then vanished before he could serve his three-year prison sentence. If this is true, it brings even more meaning to two themes that Democrats would not like to emphasize- government inefficiency (how could the government lose sight of Hsu, who apparently has been hiding in plain sight) and the Clintons' proven habit of selling pardons for campaign cash (remember Marc Rich).

Deported Illegal Asks to Return- As Ambassador

Apparently flagrantly breaking the laws of the United States is not enough for some illegal aliens- they need to flaunt their breaking in the faces of law-abiding Amerticans and legal immigrants. According to the International Herald-Tribune, the Mexican illegal deported last week, Eliana Arellano, has asked Meixcan President Felipe Calderon for a diplomatic visa so she can return to the United States as a 'peace and goodwill ambassador'.

As reported by the International Herald-Tribune,
"What I'm asking for is a diplomatic visa so that I can be an ambassador for peace and justice because I'm not a terrorist and the United States can't continue treating undocumented migrants as terrorists," Arellano told reporters after meeting with President Felipe Calderon at the presidential residence, Los Pinos.

A peace and goodwill ambassador? What kind of peace and goodwill would a self-confessed illegal alien who has openly showed she has no concern for the laws passsed by American citizens bring to this country? What she wants, of course, is to be allowed to legally come back to this country and be reunited with her sson, who is a citizen due to the disastrously thought-out 'baby-anchor' provision for citizenship. Since Ms. Arellano does not want to take her son back to his real country (that would be Mexico), she is trying once again to game the system. As for her comments about "treating undocumneted migrants as terrorissts", this is easily dismissed. Arellano is not being treated as a terroris- she is being treated as what she is- an illegal alien. Terrorists end up in Guantanamo Bay or dead. No one has mistreated or abused Arellanos in any way. Remember, Ms. Arellano, you knowlingly and willingly broke the law of the United States. If all you wanted was to be with your son, you can legally take him back to Mexico with you. he could be on the next plane and no one will stop you. It is your desire to get unearned privileges that brought you to this pass.

I have some suggestions for Arellano and all her enablers in the illegal-alien business. The United States is a sovereign country and as such has the right to determine who can and shouldd be granted entry. Mexicans and other illegals mostly cannot justly claim political persecctuion. if conditions in their home countries are bad, then it is their responsibility to work to make those conditions better. it is not the United States' responsibility to provide a free living and an equally free stress-relief valve to the corrupt governments of the nations from which these illegals come. And I find the hypocrisy of all of the countries involved staggering. None of these countries- not Mexico, not China and not any other South American country- provides any asssistance to illegals found within their own borders. In fact, anyone caught illegally in Mexico, to use merely one example, is summarily deported after a term in jail. Why then do these countries seem to think that we should not be allowed to police our own borders?

As for the United States Congress- think about your law-abiding, legal constitutents before getting caught up in the illegal-alien hype. There are many deserving LEGAL aliens waiting for the DHS to process their applications. Let's work on making the process better for those who actually desire to follow our rules and who have demonstrated that they respect the culture into which they desire to come. The ccurrent process for legally becoming a green-card holder is hopelessly broken, and many of the srtaff at the former Immigration and Naturalization Service are both rude and incompetent. Before we start letting illegals gain privileges that citizens and leegal alienss cannot access, let's help those who would be worthwilfe additions to our country- not those who have already demonstrated that they have no respect for our culture or our laws.

If President Calderon is foolish enough to give Arellano a diplomatic visa, I hope the United States uses its prerogative to deny her entry to this country. She is a convicted criminal, and we are under no obligation to allow self-confessed criminals back into our country- no matter how much they and their home government may desire to embarrass us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Media Bias On Display In San Francisco

In San Francisco's liberal Ninth Circuit Court today, a three- judge panel heard arguments in the strange case of Al-Haramain v. Bush. And the members of the media gathered in San Francisco showed their ideological colors afterwards

To those who may not be familiar with the case, this is essentially a test case as to whether the United States government has the legal authority to perform secret surveillance on anyone. The plaintiff is a Muslim organization called Al-Haramain that has been linked to a variety of Muslim terrorist organizations and has been shuttered in many countires for its unabashed laundering of money to said terrorists. Even the United Nations has placed Al-Haramain on its list of banned organizations. The organization was also concluded to be a terrorist organization here in the U.S. but somehow managed to gain posession of a document showing that they were the subject of surveillance, and thus sued the US government, claiming that the U.S. government does not have the authority to do such surveillance. The superb photo-journalist Zombie covered the day's action in exquisite detail, so I shall not recap here. Suffice to say that after the testimony was finished, many of the media gathered outside the courtroom in San Francisco gave one of the most damning demonstrations of bias that I have ever had the displeasure to see. 

The Muslim organization is being defended by an attorney whose name one might recognize- Jon Eisenberg, who represented Michael Schiavo in Schiavo's quest to have his wife Teri killed. As one might guess, he is an outspoken opponent of conservatism in general and the Republican Party and the Bush Administration in particular. His opponent representing the United States government was an attorney named Thomas Bondy. They received very different treatment from the gathered media once they had emerged from the courtroom. To quote Zombie,
Then Jon Eisenberg, the main attorney for Al-Haramain who had just argued the case, emerged from the building and let out a greeting of camaraderie and relief when he spotted his buddies in the media. Needless to say, they surrounded him and eagerly let him tell his side of the story. Jon Eisenberg pontificated for quite a long time.


Finally, Thomas Bondy -- the attorney for President Bush who was arguing the government's case against Eisenberg -- came out the courtroom door. He and his team of lawyers walked right past the reporters who had just interviewed John Eisenberg (including one who was still interviewing him, on the left of this picture). But not a single reporter showed the slightest interest in questioning him or interviewing him. When Bondy got to the bottom of the stairs, he heard something behind him and turned around, perhaps thinking it was a reporter asking him a question -- but no, it was just one of his colleagues. They stood there all by themselves, with at least 15 media members nearby, and no one approached them. So, they decided they might as well just leave. I don't know if they even wanted to give interviews -- perhaps they were glad they didn't have to repeat "no comment" over and over. But either way, no one in the media even tried. Why was Eisenberg treated like a superstar, while Bondy was totally ignored by the media?

Interspersed with Zombie's commentary were several pictures of the entire affair. I regret that Zombie was unable to identify any of the media organizations present, but all of them ought to be ashamed of their unprofessional behavior. I don't know what qualities are required of a 'professional reporter', but I would guess that objectivity, honesty and a passsion for accuracy and fairness should be featured prominently amongst them. Based on Zombie's pictures and commentary, there was no one who matched that description at this hearing today. Thus, I can offer some advice- if the media truly wants to shake its richly-deserved reputation for biased and unreliable reporting, they might want to minimize such scenes as this where they gather around their preferred side like groupies, while entirely ignoring the other side. Hat tip to Michelle Malkin. Cross-posted at NewsBusters.

Lawmaker Pleads Guilty: Guess His Party

An Idaho Senator was busted by policemen in a bathroom sting at Minnesota's airport. So how did the Minneapolis Star-Tribune lead their story?
U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Minnesota this month after being arrested by a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in a men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Note that the senator's party identification is prominently placed near the beginning of the story, where it is impossible to miss. This is quite different behavior from how the media typically reports when a DEmocrat is found guilty of something. Case in poin t- Senator Jim Metzen's arrest for drunk driving- indisputibly a more serious offense than being cited for "lewd conduct" whatever that may be. However, something interesting emerges- in the coveragte of Metzen's arresst, his party identification is mysteriously missing! He is identified as 'DFL', which appears to be the Democratic Party's identification in Minnesota, but to someone unfamiliar with Minnesota poltiics, this would not properly identify the party of the offender- I had to read several other sstories before I discovered exactly what 'DFL' stood for.

it would be nice if the media would show some consistency in this area and actually identify transgressors in both parties with their party identification. I don't care whether the perpetratrator is Denmocrat or Republican, but i wouldd like to know if one of my elected officials does transgress the law. And I want to know which party he or she is a member of. Pity the Press don't seem to share that goal- unless the politician in question is Republican, of course.

Judiciary Gone Mad: Man Gets Jail for City improvements

I have long though that cities, municipalities and the judiciary are over-zealous in trying to rule individuals' lives. Now courtesy of the Daily Breeze comes more evidence that these socialist busybodies are interested only in making ordinary peoples' lives worse, not better.

In Torrance, California, Francisco Linares bought a one-acre lot, tore down the existing house and built a new building. He then asked the city to repair the fence behind his proerty. However, the city informed him that it was on his own property and that it was his responsibility. Fair enough. Linares replaced the fence at his own expense. However, the city then deceided that the fence was indeed on city property and sued Linares to remove his improvements. Now a judge in Superior Court has sent Linares to jail for six months becasue he never got city permits to have the work done.

Cities have an indisputible duty to maintain pubic property, but they have no right whatsoever to engage in this kind of micro-management of the citizens' lives. Linares made the changes on his own property, and the city has no right to insist that he need permits or anything else in my view. If it were public property, then fair enough- it is city land. However, in this case, the story tells us that Linares was subsequently found to have done plumbing upgrades without city permits as well. Why should he need them? Again- it's his property. As long as the changes pass inspection, then there iss no need to get permits, in my mind.

The saddest part is that a judge found the man guilty and sent him to jail. This is a gross miscarriage of justice, in my opinion. Hollywood starts regularly get probaztion for far more serious offenses. Why is Linares going to jail simply becasue he didn't feel like dealing with some petty bureacrats?

It is time that we deal these busybody bureaucrats and teach them that their power ends where private property begins. As a nation, we used to understand that. It is a piuty that we seem to have forgotten that simple fact in these days of ever-increasing State power.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Helping Out the AFP

What was Agence France-Presse (AFP) thinking? Well, maybe they weren't! AFP ran a picture on August 14, 2007 of an old Iraqi woman holding two bullets that supposedly hit her house. The only problem was- said bullets were in fact unfired cartridges! In the wake of this embarrassing incident, two theories regarding the AFP's story have emerged. The more generous-minded posit that it was a simple mistake. Those of us who possess slightly more cynicism suspect nefarious motives- such as a deliberate attempt by an al-Quaeda-sympathetic photographer to plant a false story.

The Dissident Frogman has determined that the cause must be crass ignorance, for as he says, "I simply do not believe these people could release such a screaming obvious mendacity to a worldwide audience, and hope they could get away with it." He has therefore put together a small (and utterly hilarious) video which purports to instruct the AFP personnel responsible both on the difference between cartridges and bullets and on publishing real news versus false propaganda. But the worst aspect of the entire affair is in the press' ignorance. As Dissident Frogman writes on his blog,
This is where the real shocker lies: for even if we assume that they could be honest and unbiased, if these Great Professionals™ who make their trade and pride of reporting on worldwide crises — that are bound to involve, more often than not, individual weaponry of various make and caliber — can't even tell the difference between a bullet and a cartridge, can you just imagine what else — and how much — they ignore?

We can live with a dishonest press — as long as we know it — but ignorance from those who pretend to inform us?

Ignorance indeed. As this has been well-exposed, I shall not linger on it, but it is worthwhile to think on the supposed expertise of the worldwide press. i have wondered if the ignorance that seems to affect so many so-called professional reporters is due to their reliance on technology for their infromation, and the loss of the individual expertise that many reporters used to have regarding their subjects. It is illuminating, however, that the tory was apparently designed to insinuate that it was US or Coalition forces who fired on the old woman's house. Would we ever see a report where al-Quaeda or 'insurgent' forces were actually portrayed as the villains? We're waiting...

Hat tip to Blue Star Chronicles via NewsBusters.

The Decline of the Media

At The Today Show, Katie’s success was primarily engineered by another man, her whiz-kid producer Jeff Zucker, the now president of NBC. The biggest splash in her early career, the serendipitous White House interview with president George H.W. Bush, was among those orchestrated by Zucker. While conducting a live TV tour of the White House with Barbara Bush, the President joined in, probably expecting a few moments of genial chit-chat. Instead “Couric grilled him for nineteen minutes on topics from tax policy to Iran-Contra…Bush seemed frazzled.” Katie’s reputation was thereby established as someone who could handle both morning-TV fluff and more substantive journalism. What was not known at the time was the important role Zucker played; he remained outside parked in a satellite truck in the White House driveway, shouting questions in her ear piece.

This quote, written by Myrna Blyth of the National Review in a review of the new book by Joe Klein about CBS News anchor Katie Couric, has some interesting possibilities to explain the decline of the media from it's once-respected position to the point where supposed "anchors" like Couric are actually more news-readers than real journalists.

Once upon a time, reporters were true experts about the topics they covered. From world-news to sports, the beat reporters were veritable encyclopedic references on their areas of coverage. A classic example is the famous time when Ronald Reagan, bereft of his ticker-tape stats, called a baseball game sight-unseen, using only his knowledge of the players and their teams. These weere the days when a reporter quite often had a solid calssical education, so was comfortable challenging leaders who had no more than the same. But those days are gone.

Today's reporters are usually graduates in journalism- a 'discipline' that has few similarities to true academic disiplines such as engineering, Latin, computer science, or history. Journalism requires merely the abilkity to write- it does not teach students to do intensive research, nor does it teach analysis, as the classic liberal education of yesteryear did. As a result, reporters think that they can pass judgement about many areas in which they know little or nothing. A case in point is the Iraq campaign. i recall hearing the cries of the media after merely a few weeks that the campaign was a 'quagmire'. Since none of these so-called expert reporters had any training in military science, nor had they any real familiarity with historical campaigns, they were ill-equipped to pass judgement on this campaign, and they were shortly proven to be fools azs the military adjusted and crushed Iraqi forces in less than three weeks.

I remember wathcing a reporter once on a television news show. She was supposedly a technology reeporter and she was discussing a new Palm handheld, which she calimed had something made by a company called 'Bluetooth'. I worked for Palm at the tim, and I remember my colleagues and I nearly flaling out off our seats, we laughed so hard. Regrettably, this is not uncommon. Many reporters are assigned to areas that require great understanding- understanding that few reporters have, as they are simply not qualified by their majors to make any kind of analysis on those areas.

Today's reporters, like Katie Couric on that day at the WHite House, have people in trucks shouting the questions they should ask into their earpieces. But yet they expect the subjects of their reporting, who do not have the advantage of instant research, to know everything. They forget that once, they too wre restricted by what they could carry in their head. To consider Couric, or any other current anchor an expert on anything would bee a grave mistake. And becasue they have lost the individual expertise, and are merely spoon-fed it as needed, they consider them selves experts and savagely diss their subjects when said subjects cannot come up with the exact figures they are expecting.

Perhaps reporters need to lose some of their technical advantages and go back to the days when their own minds were their most important weapons. If so, they might once again learn some compassion for the people on whom they report, and they might learn objectivity. that is a tall task, but it is one that the current jet-setting, wired group of edgy, oh-so-progressive know it alls seem to have forgotten.

HuffPo Calls for Coup de Etat

I missed this when it happend, but thank goodness Glenn Reynolds and Captain Ed Morrissey did not. A left-wing bloger called Martin Lewis wrote an entry calling for the United States military Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to arrest George W. Bush. Lewis's main point was apparently that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have the power to remove the President from his command. Lewis wrote,
General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.

You can relieve the President of his command.

Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.

You simply invoke the Uniform Code Of Military Justice.

The United States Code: Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47, Subchapter X, Section 934.

Article 134 reads:

"Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court."

It appears that Mr. Lewis somehow believes that the Uniform Code of Military Justice (something that would have applied to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's antics in the Winter Soldier fiasco) somehow allow the JCS to arrest a sitting United Sates President. Further, he is calling for what amounts to a military coup de etat. Possibly he is unfamiliar with Section II, Article 2 of the United States Constitution, which clearly states
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Captain Ed Morrissey's response to Lewis' ignorance and mind-boggling calls for coup is worth quoting, as he wrote,
Lewis quotes extensively from the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but clearly his scholarship does not extend to the Constitution. The command of the armed forces follows from the president's election to office, and cannot be separated from the office itself. Bush isn't C-in-C because he got appointed to that position, but because the American electorate voted him into that role. In other words, the military cannot arrest the C-in-C but leave the President in power, and to argue otherwise is to demonstrate complete ignorance.

Secondly, the President does not serve at the pleasure of the Joint Chiefs -- and indeed, the military is subservient to the civilian command structure. They do not have arrest authority over the President -- nor over anyone else in the US other than military personnel, as the Posse Comitatus Act stipulates. Civilian oversight keeps the military from seizing power and is a long and vital tradition in this nation. It's what keeps us from becoming a banana republic, run by military strongmen.

Quite correct. What Lewis called for is no more and no less than the abandonment of the principles that cause the United States to be far above the so-called "republics" ike Hugo Chavez' Venezuela or Fidel Castro's Cuba- countries where the executive is uneleceted and kept in poweer only by the threat of the army (or the secret police in the case of Chavez). The United States has a long tradition of civilian preeminence over the military- as eveidenced by the firing of Douglas macArthur. And this tradition goes back further than Ledwis might think. The fledgling United States first met that threat when George Washington helped squash a plot of his officers to become king. Washington's actions set the civilian oversight and control of the military into stone, and yet Lewis would have us go the way of the banana republic, where the elected government is merely the thrall of the army, as Republican Rome eventually became when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

I guess the Left is not only ignorant of the United States military but has a more than passing ignorance of the bedrock laws of this country. Or maybe they truly believe that laws are made to be broken unless they suit the Left's political ends. No matter what the thoughts that guided the writer of this scurrilous piece, they should be anathema to most Americans- no matter what their political persuasion. Otherwise, we are doomed to the same fate that eventually met ancient Rome. And I can't think that Lewis and his left-leaning allies would like that.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Religious Censoring: Editors Admit Bias

It is becoming ever more obvious that the press treats cartoons poking fun at Islam in a much different manner than those poking fun at any other religion. One might even say there is a double standard, and why not, since the media themselves acknowledges that it is true.

After running a warning to the client newspapers about the content of Berke Breathed's Sunday cartoon 'Opus', comics editor Amy Lago said,

"The strip came in and I knew we would have to send out an alert to all the newspapers," Lago said. "I do that fairly regularly with materials that might pose issues for local areas. ... We knew that because it was a sex joke, it could raise issues. And there is another client that has issues with any Muslim depiction whatsoever." ... But she did alert newspapers about the Muslim-themed cartoon because there was a question about whether Muslim readers would be offended. "I don't necessarily think it's poking fun [at Islam]," Lago said. "But the question with Muslims is, are they taking it seriously?"


So apparently flagging potentially offensive cartoons is "standard practice"? No, it is only for Muslim-themed cartoons- Christian, Jewish and [insert religion of choice here] apparently don't warrant this practice no matter how offensive they may be perceived as being. A case in point is the fact that one week before the censored 'Opus' cartoon, the same cartoonist wrote an 'Opus' strip which lampooned deceased Christian leader Jerry Falwell in terms at least as strong as the Islamic strip. Not only were no warnings sent out regarding that strip, no newspaper apparently felt the need to worry about its (mostly Christian) readers' reactions.

Speaking in regards to the recent decision of the Washington Post and several other newspapers not to run cartoonist Berkeley Breathed's 'Opus' strip due to concerns about how Muslims might view it, King Syndicate editor Brendon Burford said of his competitors,

As far as whether the Post and the Post Writers Group syndicate treated content about conservative Christians differently than it did content about conservative Muslims, it certainly could be taken that way. "It appears on the surface to be a double standard," Burford said, "but at the same time, the climate of the world probably informs their decision with how to go forward with it."


I see. So "the climate of the world" is what they take into account when determining what cartoons to censor. Whatever happened to the First Amendment that reporters like to hold up anytime something offensive to Christians is published, or when reporters like Eric Lichtblau and James Risen bend the law in order to warn our enemies about secret programs designed to protect us? I suspect that this is reporter-speak for "they were afraid of Muslims, since only Muslims have a propensity to kill people with whom they disagree".

It would appear that there is indeed a double standard- and journalists are among the forefront of those pushing for a new dhimmitude. Too bad they can't seem to understand that the very forces they are trying so hard to appease now are the same forces that hold the least respect for their most dearly-held beliefs.

Whither Common Sense?

One would think that teachers and school administrators, who are supposedly trained professional educators, would be able to distinguish between an actual threat and a sstudent who is merely passing the time by doodling. Apparently in Phoenix Arizona suburb of Chandler, one would be wrong.

According to the Phoenix-area TV station KPHO 5, a 13-year olod student who doodled a picture of a space-ray gun was suspended for five days. Although the school refused to discuss the incident, the station did a little research rto try to discover what the student was suspended for. They reported,
CBS 5 News investigated the rules students must follow while at school. There's nothing in a portion of the student handbook that addresses conduct to indicate the drawing of a weapon poses threat.
There is a rule that says students should not engage in "Threatening an educational institution by interference with or disruption of the school."

It appears that the administration of Payne Junior High School is ignorant of the content of the United States Constitution's First (free speech) and Second Amendments (the right of Americans to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed). It appears that the school's teachers and administrators are also ignorant of basic principles of common sense. While I do not live in Chandler, I would advise the parents of those children who do live there that perhaps it is time to look hard at just what these so-called teachers are teaching. Since they do not appear to have a very strong grasp of either American civics nor of common sense, perhaps it is time to replace them.

Gonzalez Gone

According to the new York Times, Attorney general Albert Gonzales has resigned as of Sunday night. The Times lead it story by writing,
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress, has resigned. He is expected to announce the decision to reporters at 10:30 Eastern time this morning in Washington.

As noted by the guys at Power Line, "False accusations of perjury, made largely by the Times itself.". This is too true And even the Times may have realized its role in promoting the non-scandal of the fired United States attorneys, as it found an anonymous official to say
The official who disclosed the resignation today that the turmoil over Mr. Gonzales had made his continuing as attorney general difficult. “The unfair treatment that he’s been on the receiving end of has been a distraction for the department,” the official said.

This is unfortunatley true, and the unfari treatment mentioned by this un-named official largely emanated from the media such as the Times itself. The Times's treatment was ably buttressed and supported by the pontifications of such partisan hacks as personified byu such individuals as Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy. These partisans had their own takes on Gonzales' resignation, and the media was only too happy to quote them. Kennedy was reported to have said
"He has exhibited a lack of candor with Congress and the American people and a disdain for the rule of law and our constitutional system. I strongly urge President Bush to nominate a new attorney general who will respect our laws and restore the integrity of the office." — Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

"Respect our laws and restore the integrity of the office"? Mr. Gonzales never ignored a court order as did Janet Reno. Nor did he conspire with local officials to cover up what might have led to manslaguther charges, as did Kennedy himself. Yet Kennedy has no qualms about making these over-the-top claims, knowning as he does that the national mediua largley exists as an echo chamber for ideas beloved by the Democratic Party and their allies on the political left. It is more to the shame of the media that they report accusations such as this than it is to the poltiicians who make them.

In any event, I have beeen no fan of the Gonzamez Jusitce Department. I believe that he has shown no real flair for the job and he has made a number of mis-steps in defending his agency to the hostile party hacks in Congress. But like former Senator John Ashcroft before him, I believe that Gonzales was unfairly demonized by the Democratic Party and their friends in the press. I wish Mr. Gonzales good luck in his future endeavors, and thank him for his service to his country.

Hat tip to Power Line.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vick Done- But NAACP Calls For Rehab

The National Football League has finally acted, suspending Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick indefinitely without pay after Vick admitted that he did after all,
bankroll gambling on dogfighting and helped kill some dogs not worthy of the pit.

Vick's guilt was never seriously in doubt as proof after proof emerged from the mounting pile of evidence against him, and in fact this merely puts the official seal on a case that has been pretty much moot since all of Vick's co-defendants agreed to plead guilty and give evidence against Vick. This, however, has not stopped the local NAACP and a number of columnists, including the New York Times's Selena Roberts from calling for Vick to be granted a second chance in the NFL. In fact, Roberts was very passionate in stating that this was not Vick's fault. She seems to believe that his friends ought to have stood up for him and not agreed to testify against him. Roberts wrote that Vick was "abandoned by his friends", as though Vick was somehow a victim.

Meanwhile, the NAACP is still trying to convince anyone who will listen that Vick is simply someone who "made a mistake". The also think that he ought to be allowed to resume his career without a single hiccup once he serves his time. According to one of their officials,
"As a society, we should aid in his rehabilitation and welcome a new Michael Vick back into the community without a permanent loss of his career in football," said R.L. White, president of the NAACP's Atlanta chapter. "We further ask the NFL, Falcons, and the sponsors not to permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country."

White said the Falcons quarterback is a human being who has made a mistake and should be allowed to prove that he has learned from that mistake.

Funny- I don't recall either the NAACP or Roberts arguing for the Duke students accused of rape. I don't recall either of them making the case that since the worst that the students could possibly be accused of was holding a party where drinking took place and two srippers were hired. In fact, Roberts called for other students to step forward and incriminate their fellow teammates by telling the police and prosecutors stories of a rape that quite simply never occurred. However, she was strangely advocating the exact opposite position in respect to Vick- calling for his fellow criminals NOT to break silence and testify against him. Yes, Vick was clearly guilty and the Duke trio proved almost immediately that they had a strong case in favor of their innocence.

Roberts and the NAACP have proved once again that they are simply interested in advancing their own agendas- not in providing accurate or objective commentary on the subject of face in these United States. It would be nice if they would have given this much attention to the damage they did to innocent people falsely accused, and not to guilty people who will have to earn their way to redemption. But of course, that might mean actually being color-blind- something neither the NAACP nor Selena Roberts (despite the lily-white community where she lives) appears able to do.

MSNBC Reporter Links to Parody Blog

I missed out on this story as it was occurring, but couldn't help but comment. Apparently those "layers of editors and fact-checkers" the mainstream media likes to boast of were insufficient in preventing MSNBC report Alex Johnson (assisted by two other NBC reporters from realizing that the ">Al Sharpton blog he linked to in a story about Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was a parody.

Although MSNBC is now claiming that the parody blog was a hoax, this doesn't explain how their "professional reporter" missed seeing the clearly marked words "fake parody blog" on the titlebar. It also doesn't explain why MSNBC is unaware of the difference between a hoax and a parody. In case anyone from MSNBC would care for some elucidation on the subject, here is Webster's definition of each term:

Main Entry: 2hoax
Function: noun
1 : an act intended to trick or dupe : IMPOSTURE
2 : something accepted or established by fraud or fabrication

Main Entry: 1par·o·dy
Pronunciation: 'per-&-dE, 'pa-r&-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -dies
Etymology: Latin parodia, from Greek parOidia, from para- + aidein to sing -- more at ODE
1 : a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule
2 : a feeble or ridiculous imitation
synonym see CARICATURE
- pa·rod·ic /p&-'rä-dik, pa-/ adjective
- par·o·dis·tic /"per-&-'dis-tik, 'pa-r&-/ adjective

Note to MSNBC- the fake Al Sharpton blog is clearly a parody- it was not designed to try to fool anyone, and it is clearly marked as a parody. But this does bring up another point. If MSNBC cannot tell the difference between a hoax and a parody, especially when the latter is clearly marked, then how can we trust them to report on anything, let alone something as potentially divisive as the Michael Vick situation?

AP Muddies Waters on New Poll

Is the Associated Press trying to muddy the campaign waters to benefit Senator Hillary Clinton? The AP just reported on a new poll, titling their story Intensity Differs for Clinton, Giuliani.

The AP begins their story by stating,
Rudy Giuliani's support is broad. Hillary Rodham Clinton's is intense. Among voters of all parties with an opinion, Clinton is viewed favorably by 55 percent, the lowest of all major candidates, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Thursday.

So instead of headlining about intensity, why didn't the AP headline the real story- that wile Senator Clinton has intense support among her faithful, she does not have broad support like that enjoyed by the former New York mayor. The AP goes on to try to build up Clinton's support, stating,
Yet the New York senator is viewed favorably by 88 percent of her fellow Democrats, including 38 percent with a very favorable opinion of her - the highest rating of that intensity for any leading candidate. Such support is good news for her effort to win her party's nomination.

I would agree that her fervent followers in the ranks of the Democratic Party make it virtually impossible for her to lose the nomination, but her chances in a general election are much less favorable. Her negatives, as has been reported on before, are much higher than any of her potential competitors, and a general campaign does not usually lower those negatives- it sends them higher.

But all of this is known already. And in any event, polls this far in advance of a general election are essentially meningless, as many Americans have not even begun paying attention to the various races. Only after the nominations are set will the general public begin to take an interest. that is when polls become useful. The AP appears to be merely trying to bring down the Republicans, and make Hillary seem much stronger than she is with this "news" story.

Terror Attack Helps Republicans, Says Hillary

In a new low of political promoting, Senator Hillary Clinton says that a new terror attack would help Republicans. The New York senator is reported by the New York Post online edition as saying,
"It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world,"

This brings up two points. Firstly, how low has political campaigning sunk that any candidate for the Presidency would even consider saying something like this as part of a campaign. Whether a terror attack would or would not help a single political party should be irrelevant- all Americans should be working together to prevent a terror attack and to defeat our enemies. Unfortunately, that message apparently hasn't reached most of the Democratic Party.

Secondly, how can any media outlet, especially one from a city that has first-hand experience of being attacked by Islamic terror, treat this statement as being a normal, straightforward campaign sound bite? The Post should be ashamed of itself for not highlighting this statement as the partisan and unpatriotic statement that it is. But the Post can only bring itself to call the statement 'surprising'.

This is yet another indication that where Democrats and especially Hillary are concerned, the national media has only one standard for their comments- help them win at any cost.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Columbia Journalism Review Whines About Drudge

Has the Columbia Journaism Review (CJR) taken umbrage with Matt Drudge's choice of headlines? After Drudge posted the "Obama Wife Slams Hillary" headline across his site, CJR ran an article complaining Drudge Barks, TV News Bites.

It seems the CJR is upset that Drudge's headline sparked a media feeding frenzy in which the major news sources all picked up both on the original story in the Chicago Sun-Times and on the interpretation that Michelle Obama's remark constituted an attack on Senator Hillary Clinton. Now for anyone who read the original story, there seems little doubt that Mrs. Obama's remark really was a thinly-disguised dig at Hillary. The Sun-Times wrote,
At another stop, in Atlantic, Michelle said she travels with her husband in part "to model what it means to have family values," adding "if you can't run your own house, you can't run the White House." She didn't elaborate, but it could be interpreted as a swipe at the Clintons.

Taken in context, it would seem to be a pretty fair interpretation that Mrs. Obama was indeed making a direct comparison betwewen her own travels with her candidate husband, and Hillary's very noticeable distance from her own philandering spouse, former President Bill Clinton. Not to the CJR, however.

The CJR article proceeded to spend the majority of its space trying to refute the idea that Mrs. Obama was talking about Senator Clinton. The main thrust of its article seems to be that Drudge induced the media into a needless spate of stories that carried no real value, and existed only to titllate the reading public.

Of course, when the media was obsessing over former Seantor Fred Thompson's lovely (and younger) wife Jeri, there was no lack of stories musing about "trophy wives" and their effect on the American public. Never mind that Jeri Thompson is far from being a "trophy wife". And when Rudy Guilani's family was dragged into view last week, I do not recall the CJR complining about those stories, though they have even less journalistic vaslue than does this one. It seems that the CJR only complains about journalitic value when it is Democrats who are being displayed in a negative light.

Hat tip to Matt Drudge.

Now Available on NewsBusters

I have recently been invited to cross-post on! This is a great honor, so in future any media-related posts can be found on I will continue to post on non-media-bias issues here at StoneHeads.

Welcome to any new readers who may have found me due to my inclusion at NewsBusters. Comments are welcome as always, though I do request that any commenters follow common courtesy. Profanity, trolling and personal attacks are all unacceptable.

NY Times's New Line on Iraq

Now that the military surge led by General Petraeus is clearly succeeding in lowering the violence level in Iraq, the liberal media cheerleaders for defeat are scrambling for a new strategy to convince Americans that Iraq is a disaster. But what line will they choose?

The New York Times has apparently decided that since success on the military end of things is now fairly evident, that it is time to begin chipping away at the poilitcal side. To this end, they have once again utilized their favorite tool, the anonymous source, to try to destroy Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The Times story, posted on the front page of their web site, is entitled Report Cites Grave Concerns on Iraq's Government. Once a reader gets past the scare-mongering headline, the report continues to cast doubt on the Iraqi government in every way it can, stating,
The administration is planning to make public today parts of a sober new report by American intelligence agencies expressing deep doubts that the government of the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, can overcome sectarian differences. Government officials who have seen the report say it gives a bleak outlook on the chances Mr. Maliki can meet milestones intended to promote unity in Iraq.

Naturally, the Times used an anonymous official to reinforce their position. "“The report says that there’s been little political progress to date, and it’s very gloomy on the chances for political progress in the future,” said one Congressional official with knowledge of its contents."

It is no surprise that the Times uses "an anonymous Congressional offiical". During the course of their campaign for defeat in Iraq and the destruction of President Bush's Adminstration, the Times has rarely dared to actually quote from true named experts, and many of the anonymous experts they have used in the past, such as Michael Scheuer, have been easily discredited once their real names and positions became known. Whereas, by using an "anonymous" expert, the actual espertise fo thier chosen commentator is difficult to discern.

It appears that the Times has decided that since military success is virtually impossible to deny, that it is time to attack the civilian authorities, despite the fact that they too have made great strides since the beginning of the campaign. al-Maliki has managed to reach out to Sunnis and hang on to his own Shi'ite support as well, in the process marginalizing the Moqti al-Sadr forces as well. In the Times's view, any American defeat that hurts the Administration is apparently better than a victory that actually strengthens America.

Hat tip to Matt Drudge.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Selena's Revisions

Isn't it interesting how many media outlets seem to employ two different sets of standards regarding athletes accused of criminal behavior? Selena Roberts wrote passionately (if incorrectly) regarding the three falsely accused Duke lacrosse players in the once-august pages of the New York Times. One of her main themes was that the lacrosse players were engaging in a wall of silence designed to protect the guilty. She condemned this behavior in very strong terms, even using the illustration of a gang member wearing a "Stop Snitching" T-shirt on her first article, published on March 31, 2006. In this she portrayed them as equally despicable and in fact equivalent to those gang members who discourage snitching to the authorities with threats of physical violence.

So, how did Ms. Roberts react to the news that Michael Vick's co-defendants had snitched on him, revealing his leadership and his financial bankrolling of the dog-fighting gang? Surely she was happy that they had not engaged in the behavior she had previously ascribed (falsely) to the Duke lacrosse team?

Not exactly. It turns out that Ms. Roberts only approves of snitching in cases where the defendants are white and innocent of the crimes they are accused of. If the defendant is black and guilty, then apparently it is not acceptable to snitch on the ring-leader. As KC Johnson wites of Roberts' column,

In her column for today’s Times, however, Roberts takes a far different view of “snitches.” Her commentary deals with the Michael Vick case, and the parade of friends or relatives of the quarterback cooperating with the government—or, in Roberts’ parlance, “snitching.”

How does Roberts describe their behavior?

Vick’s cousin was “the first to fail” him. Then a friend with whom he had a falling out, Tony Taylor, was “the first to flip” on him. And finally, another old friend, Quanis Phillips, who pled guilty to dog-fighting charges on Friday, was “the latest to betray” Vick. [emphasis added in each sentence]

Fail him? Flip on him? Betray him? What happened to Selena Roberts, the arch-crusader for justice, who argued that friends and teammates needed to “come forward to reveal an eyewitness account,” and smash the culture in which “any whisper of a detail [is] akin to snitching?”

Last spring, Roberts described the lacrosse team as “a group of privileged players of fine pedigree entangled in a night that threatens to belie their social standing as human beings.” How does she describe Vick? As a person of “disarming charm” who “employed friends and housed pals.” He has, she laments, been “abandoned, left to contemplate a plea deal that could imprison him and ruin his N.F.L. career.”

The incompetence and flat falsehoods employed by many of the members of the Press in dealing with these two cases is equalled only by their hypocrisy. Hat tip to Durham-in-Wonderland.

NAACP Supports Criminals

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NACCP) was one of the most outspoken opponents of the three Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape by a Durham prostitute-cum-stripper, Crystal Gayle Mangum. They called for harsh penalties and openly wanted the three college boys to spend time in prison for something that they did not do. This is still the official stand of the NAACP, depsite the three having been declared entirely innocent by the North Carolina state Attorney General.

However, it is apparently different when the accused is a multi-million dollar black quarterback. The NACCP today released an announcement calling for Michael Vick's reinstatement in the NFL, preferably with the Atlanta Falcons, after he does his prison time in the dog-fighting case.

"As a society, we should aid in his rehabilitation and welcome a new Michael Vick back into the community without a permanent loss of his career in football," said R.L. White, president of the NAACP's Atlanta chapter. "We further ask the NFL, Falcons, and the sponsors not to permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country."

I see. So a millionaire black athlete who is convicted of criminal behavior should getg multiple chances to redeem himself and society should not judge him as a result of his own actions, freely taken. But white college boys from Duke University should not only not get any such second chances, they should be imprisoned as a result of false charges, a police department that is clearly out of control and a rogue prosecutor?

I think the NAACP has some explaining to do. Unless of course, it really is all about race.

UPDATE: The link that quotes the NAACP's memorandum on the falsely accused Duke athletes is courtesy of Professor K.C. Johnson's incredible Durham-in-Wonderland blog. For a complete picture of the entire Duke Rape Hoax, Professor Johnson, along with fellow stalwarts John in Carolina and Lie Stoppers have been unceasing in their pursuit of the truth.

AP Slants Again

The Associated Press is following their long-standing habit of presenting any news that the White House or its components are claiming executive privilege by presenting it as "obstruction". In an article posted on the Yahoo News site today, Pete Yost intially plays it straight by saying that the Justice Department says the White House Office of Administration is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

However, Yost then proceeds to quote from no one who might be able to support the Justice Department's claims. Instead, he quotes the Administration spokespeople, then immediately focuses on groups that are hostile to the Administration, such as the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press and the National Security archive. Both of these groups are offered free space to attack the Administration, though no countering information is presented. Both of these groups are clamoring for unfettered release of information that has not been tied to any criminal issues, such as the federal prosecutors' firing, but were strangely silent when it was the Clinton White House claiming executive privilege. I don't recall them pressing for more information regarding Democratic Rep. William Jefferson's bribery issues either, though Jefferson has been caught literally red-handed.

For myself, I do not know whether the Justice Department's claims are meritorious or not. However, for the AP to publish a piece offering only one side of the story is shameless and only provides more evidence that the AP is not providing journalism, but propaganda.

Fluff of the Day

I have seen some ridiculous things on the Internet. But stiletto high-heel racing definitely takes the cake. I have to agree with Manolo, who says,

"It is still madness!"

Yes it is. But fun to watch.

Hat tip to little green footballs.

NY Times scare stories on US Healthcare

It is strange how studies by groups like the World Health Organization (WHO) are trumpeted by news organs like the New York Times when said findings advance the preferred views of the news organ itself. It is even stranger when studies that do not represent the preferred beliefs of news organs, or corrections that make a moockery of a story (such as Duff Wilson's fantasy-laden stories about the Duke Rape Hoax) are hidden on the back page, or not published at all.

A case in point is the recent study by the WHO that finds US healthcare is only the 37th best in the world. Naturally, the Times put these results on the front page, without bothering to invetigate how the WHO reached them. This is relevant because as John Stossel points ou in his excellent rebuttal of the WHO study on, the study is fatally flawed in deteremining what amounts to "good" healthcare as opposed to "bad" healthcare.

According to Stossel, the WHO put high emphasis on life expectancy. Since the US has a much higher murder rate and auto-accident death rqate than virtually any other advanced country, this has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of healthcare one receives, it would perhaps have been nice if the Times had mentioned this. It did not. In addition, the WHO graded countries' healthcare system according to how socialist they were. As Stossel writes, "The WHO judged countries not on the absolute quality of health care, but on how "fairly" health care of any quality is "distributed." The excellence of care in this country thus was downgraded because not everyone has totally free access to it! This little point also did not make it into the Times' story, though it did make a point that our system is "unfair".

American healthcare certasinly does need fixing. But it would be nice if the media would cease their scare tactics in pursuit of a system like Cuba or Canada. Having lived in a country (Japan) that does have a central healthcare system, I am well aware that Japanese pay more for their system than I do for mine- even when I paid for my own. I also have a wife who is a registered nurse, and have had to pay some calls to doctors for treatment, so I have seen our system up close and personal. In the end, our system is not perfect, but it contains more positives than almost any other I have experienced. Too bad the Times can't focus on some of those positives, instead of trying to scare Americans into adopting a system that consistently does worse.

On Media Seriousness...

The US media is justifiably reviled for its political pandering, its readily apparent bias and its refusal to actually report on news that might (gasp) make the sitting President look better than the media wants him to. However, at least the US media has not completely gone into fairyland, unlike its Japanese counterpart.

When American pledge drives or other charity auctions occur, they are normally filled with things that evoke a wide variety of feelings- baseballs from a 700th home run, valuabnle artifacts and so on. However, the Japanese network Paradise TV has a slightly different focus- on pornography. And of cours the Japanese journalistic world is only to happy to cover said fundraiser- in detail.

The Shukan Taishu (週間大衆) reports that Paradise is planning to host a wall-to-wall porn giveaway for its annual fundraiser, including,
Among the features of the telethon will be "Oppai Bokin (Tit Collection)," where contributors to the charity fund are permitted to knead the breasts of an adult movie actress; and the Tekoki Jinja (Hand Job Shrine), where a cash handout will be returned with a hand out of an entirely different kind.

At least our media has not yet descended to the depths that necessitate reporting on this kind of thing, despite their incomprehensible interest in the affairs of nobodies such as Paris Hilton and other "celebrities" of that nature.

Hot (Pants) in Japan

Japanese girls have been noted in recent times of falling for all kinds of fashion fads. Some of these included the body-conscious (ボディコン) girls of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the "T-back" craze of the mid-1990s and the '70s retread craze of the early 2000s. It appears that Japanese girls now love to wear hot pants, or very short shorts. And this has apparently irritated the fashion police in Japan.

As reported by the Sunday Mainichi newspaper (毎日新聞), fashion critic Ichida Hiromi is unhappy with this turn of events. Ichida complained to the Sunday Mainichi that,
Ichida says Japanese aren't suited for skimpy hot pants.
"If Japanese women were built like their Western counterparts, it wouldn't be so bad, but hot pants just don't suit Japanese," she says. "It's the same as ultra-mini skirts. They were first brought here from Europe and Japanese adopted the fashion, but it's not so easy to adopt body shapes. I really want the women decked out in revealing clothes to take an objective look at their bodies. It's going to take another three or four generations before Japanese have similar proportions to Westerners. It's still premature for Japanese to go around talking about beautiful legs," Ichida tells Sunday Mainichi. "I can understand if the women were wearing hot pants over a swimsuit when they went to the beach, or something. In fact, in those cases, they're quite cute. But these girls are wearing the short shorts everywhere. And I can't stand it!"

I suspect that Ichida may be jealous of the women who can wear such attire, or perhaps she genuinely yearns for the days of the kimono. While I confess to a secret appreciation for a lovely Japanese girl properly dressed in the traditional kimono (I consider kimono one of the most lovely forms of clothing ever developed), I also appreciate the difficulty most modern Japanese women have in actually wearing said attire. Not only is kimono exceedingly difficult to wear, it is an increasingly rare Japanese woman who actually knows how to put one on, and often requires the assistance of others to get properly worn. I can remember my own wife, on our wedding, required her mother's assistance in order to get her kimono properly draped and tied.

Ultimately however, Ichida's complaints ring false. If the Japanese women are not suited for hot pants, then their friendswill surely let them know. In the meantime, I am certain that the male population is enjoying the fad while it lasts. And the media, as always, is milking it for all it is worth. After all, an excuse to run pictures of gorgeous women in skimpy clothing justifies any minimal "journalism" such as this piece by the Sunday Mainichi.

Electoral Change in California

Ed Morrissey has been following the Democrats' attempt to sabotage the Electoral College over on Heading Right. As he has noted, Democrats were unhappy that George W. Bush won the 2000 election depite not winning the overall national popular vote. They have proposed several semi-legal solutions to this, including having states agree to assign their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote instead of assigning the electoral votes to the winner of the state's popular vote as has been traditional.

However, Democrats nationwide are not too pleased about California's plan to address the situation. As reported by Captain Ed, California voters support a plan to split the electoral vote between the winners of the various counties. Two electoral votes would be given to the winner fo the state's popular vote, but the remaining 53 would go to the winners of the state's fifty-three counties. And a plurality of Californians are in support of this idea, including half of all Democrats.

This seems to me a good idea both for fairness and for the effect it would have on the two political parties. Since California is dominated by the far-left enclaves of San Francisco Bay and the Los Angeles area, the more-conservative Central Valley is often forgotten, and Repoublicans rarely spend much time or effort in the state, knowing that the liberal blocs in the cities guarantee Democratic wins in the state. If this change were to take effeect, then Republicans would need to spend time in california, benefitting both Californians and ultimately, maybe the Republican Party as well. Even Democrats might be benefitted by some competition, as they currently own California in a one-party system.

Captain Ed also pointed out that California has often been a "harbinger of political movements" and I agree with him that this change has nothing but positives for both parties. Instead of a winner-take-all result, now both parties, and even some third parties have reason to compete. The downside is that it does encourage small parties like the Greens to muddy the waters, and the last thing we need is an arrangement like much of Europe, where no single party can gain enough seats to govern., Fortunately, the fact that our Head of State is NOT the Head of the Winning Party in Congress helps us to be somewhat immune to that sort of madness.

Of course, this also means that if the ballot proposal passes, a Democratic nominee for President would face a much more difficult time of winning the national election if California's fifty-five electoral votees were not gauranteed to go to the Democrat. Hillary has problems now, and without all of California's electoral votes, I don't think she stands any chance of winning at all. But the best effect would be to allow the voters to choose- not some party operatives working in the back-room darkness.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More Liberal Obfuscation

The liberal media is at it again. The meme of "liberals are smarter than conservatives" has been a constant for some time, especially since the election of George W. Bush, whom liberals like to portray as an idiot. Now the Associated Press has decided to try this one more time, running a story that claims liberals read more than conservatives because they are "want the hole picture".

The story quotes the president of the American Association of Publishers on the topic, and her words are unkind at best and insulting at worst to conservatives.
The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."

Of course, Schroeder's comments should be taken with a large grain of salt- she used to be, as even the AP has to admit, "one of Congress' most liberal members" during her time as a democratic Representative from Colorado. The White House was quick to fire off an amused response, saying that Schroeder confused "quantity with quality". And the AP also admits that Karl Rove is known as a prodigious reader.

As a voracious reader myself, I have to laugh a the entire "news story". Liberals may indeed read more than conservatives. However, just because one person reads more bulk than another carries absolutely no significance as to intelligence, wisdom or any other meaningful markers of personality. I have read Kipling, Shakespeare, the Bible, a great deal of literary fiction, and a fair amount of science fiction from the Golden Age. However, the only books I have read in the past year are the Harry Potter books and a few old favorites by Douglas Reeman, CS Forester, Dick Francis and Ngaio Marsh. Although I have re-read some of the classics, such as Mahan's Influence of Sea Power Upon History and Plato's Republic (in translation- my Greek is nonexistent).

My wife on the other hand has confined her reading to several Japanese novels by Miyabe Miyuki (宮部みゆき). Does this mean she is less intelligent? Of course not. The volume of one's reading is immaterial to one's intelligence.

One can also make the argument that conservatives read less because thy have actual jobs and families to occupy their attention, while liberals tend to be children of privilege (meaning no nine-to-five job to keep them busy) and less inclined to have children (which may come back to haunt them one day at the ballot box).

However, in the main this is merely more evidence that the Left has become the party of elitism and privilege, while the conservatives (should be) the party of normal people. If only the black vote could figure this out, Democrats might actually have to enunciate a real policy as opposed to tired old bromides like this one.

Marine Music & Nuclear Submarines

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

On this day in 1800, the United States Marine Band gave its first concert in Washington, District of Columbia. This was the first in a long and continuing tradition of great musicians providing music to the public, including such luminaries as John Philip Sousa, who led the Marine Band from 1880 - 1892. This tradition continues today, as "The President's Own" band continues to provide superb music for all State occasions and many public concerts.

And also on this day in history in 1951, the first contract for a nuclear-powered submarine was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics. This award paved the way for the Navy to enter the nuclear era with the launch of the U.S.S. Nautilus (SSN-571) in 1954. Today, Nautilus, named for the famed submarine in Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in which he predicted nuclear power among other things, can be found at Groton, Connecticut, near the huge submarine base of New London, Connecticut.

Model Health Care?

I am not a supporter of government-run health care. Nor am I a proponent of universal health care, a la the Hillary Clinton model or any other socialist scheme. That being said, however, there is no question that the United States health care model could use some improvement. I would fight against adopting the Canadian (or God forbid, the Cuban) model that Hillary and other rich hypocrites like Michael Moore want to foist upon us. But there may be a viable alternative or two out there.

With that in mind, former Senator Jim Talent of Missouri, who is currently Chairman of the Romney for President Domestic Policy Task Force, has written an article praising Romney's reform of the Massachusetts health-care industry. While the source must be considered, if Talent's article is correct, then this may be one possibility for reforming the national health=-care system as well. But I still have a few concerns:

First, we need to ensure that illegal aliens cannot access any new national health-care system. If they need medical care, they need to pay up-front for it; they should not be allowed any of its benefits otherwise.

Second, we need to ensure that government gets its nose out of healthcare. The last thing we need is more bureaucracy involved in our health-care system. Deregulation is essential if any real reform is to succeed. The key, as Talent says in describing Romney's reforms,
Finally, Governor Romney recognized that competition is the key to the success of any market – so doing what no one had ever done before, he created a new market where consumers can go to pick the health care plan that suits them best.

Competition, not over-regulation, is the key to success. If everyone is concentrating on producing the best product for the least amount of money, and the consumer is able to choose, then many of the current issues will go away in my opinion.

Finally we need to get lawyers out of the equation. too many doctors and medical institutions are so fearful of these ambulance-chasers that they will do unnecessary tests, driving up sots, so as to avoid deadly lawsuits. We need to cap malpractice awards and also to eliminate the ability of people who have actually never suffered to gain from class-action lawsuits. Get lawyers out of healthcare and I think we will find that healthcare becomes affordable again. Maybe if doctors refused care to lawyers that might be a start?

Talent's article does not provide enough information to make a truly informed opinion on the success or failure of Romney's reforms in Massachusetts. But is does provide a possible path for national reform, if taken judiciously. Read the whole thing.

Bully Russia Tries Again

Russia is no fan of the proposed U.S. missile defense system. This is for very good reason. If the U.S. successfully implements its missile-defense system, then Russia's major weapons are essentially useless against the United States. And Russian influence will become even less than it is at present.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Russia is trying to bully her neighbors into refusing to host pieces of the missile defense system. One of those neighbors is the Czech Republic, which has some experience with being betrayed by the West and dominated by Russia. Today, Russia's military Chief of Staff added to the pressure, incidentally taking sides in the upcoming 2008 Presidential election in the United States as well. And surprise, surprise, he subtlely hinted that Russia would prefer to see a Democrat in the WHite House.
We say it will be a big mistake by the Czech government to put this radar site on Czech territory," said Yuri Baluyevsky, the Russian military chief of staff, after meeting the Czech deputy defense minister, Martin Bartak.

He said the Czech Republic should hold off making a decision until after the U.S. presidential election, scheduled to take place in late 2008. Incumbent George W. Bush will not be running.

"A decision will be made by the Czech side only after the evaluation of all conditions, technical and otherwise," said Baluyevsky.

"I and my Russian colleagues simply ask that that process continue through to October-November of 2008, and I think you can all guess why."

Asked by a reporter to clarify, he said: "I do not exclude that a new administration in the United States will re-evaluate the current administration's decisions on missile defense."

This should provide additional evidence, if any were necessary, that Democrats are widely seen as being surrender-happy, and that most nations correctly understand that Democrats have neither an understanding of defense nor do they have the intestinal fortitude to actually pursue a strong defense. They would rather turn troops into policemen and base American defense on vague ideals of "peace".

And it presents even more evidence that Russia will stop at nothing to return to its formerly prominent position, possibly including the re-occupation of those Eastern European countries that were for so long under its iron fist.

About that Democratic Congress...

You probably won't see many reports of this in the mainstream media, but it appears that despite the media shilling for Democrats, the Democratic-controlled Congress is not particularly popular with the American public. According to a new Gallup poll, Congress' approval rating has matched a historic low- only 18 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.

In contrast, President Bush's approval ratings are holding steady in the low 30 percent range. The same Gallup poll reports that Bush has an approval rating of 32 percent. While Bush's low approval rating can be traced to the unceasingly negative coverage of the Iraq campaign as well as his stumbles on immigration and other policies that upset his core constituency, Congress does not have that excuse.

Democrats took Congress, as Gallup mentions, on voter disgust with Republican profligacy and scandals. But Pelosi and Company have proven even more corrupt and than the Republicans they replaced. Perhaps if Congress would concentrate more on the job they are supposed to be doing- such as cleaning up the pork-laden members of the new Democratic majority- and less on trying to manufacture scandals that do not exist, they might be able to hang on to their majority in the next elections. At this rate however, Nancy Pelosi's reign as Madame Speaker may be short.

Creeping Sharia

I cannot imagine any scenario where a "Christian-themed" private school would be allowed to open without furious outcry from most of the media and many Democratic politicians. the ACLU would be in the forefront of the fight, filing legal challenges to keep it from recieving any kind of public funding whatsoever. And virtually every news outlet in the country would be editorializing that American was becoming a thoecracy.

Yet these same organizations apparently have no problem with an Islamic-themed public school opening in Brooklyn. In fact, according to the New York Department of Education,
Khalil Gibran International Academy is a new public middle school that will teach Arabic language and culture while adhering to all state academic and legal standards. This is a non-religious school and will be open to all New York City students. The school will be housed in the Sarah. J. Hale building at 345 Dean Street in Brooklyn and will enroll 60 6th graders in September.

A school that will "teach Arabic language and culture"? And it is being sponsored by the New York Department of Eduction? If the separation of church and state means anything to the usually-fierce opponents of religion, then this school should not be allowed to open. Unless of course the New York Department of Education is prepared to open similar schools teaching "Hindi culture and language", "Jewish culture and language" and maybe even "Christian culture". But I suspect that there will be no such schools opened by the New York Department of Education. For some reason Islam, the religion that openly calls for a combined church/state structure is OK but all other religions, which have a long-established separation between the political and the religious, are not.

One can only wonder when the mavens of "diversity" will finally realize that the very forces they are so closely allied with- the forces of radical Islam- are those that they ought be most fearful of, for "diversity" is one of Islam's first targets anywhere they achieve a majority rule.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Deeds, Not Words

Liberals love to talk. They are the masters of words. Conservatives as a rule are not great talkers. They prefer deeds. This has been evident for some time.

Today, Eric at the Tygrrrr Express has posted a wonderful article about liberals' words versus conversatives' actions. While I find it difficult to improve on Eric's essay, I would like to point out the following:

Liberals like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter sat down with their opponents and talked. Once in a while, they are fortunate enough that their guests have plans that they can take credit for. This happened to Carter when he hosted Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin. They signed a treaty. Carter provided a location.

Conservatives on the other hand, are not usually great talkers, with Ronald Rreagan begin the rare exception. Conservatives prefer to act, not talk. When Kim Il Sung, backed by Red china, invaded South Korea in 1952, Harry Truman did not talk- he acted. the result is a free South Korea. When Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980, he faced a deadly enemy in the Soviet Union. He realized that they could not possibly compete with us, and we proceeded to win the Cold War. tTe result was a free Eastern Europe and an end to the era of Mutually Assured Destruction. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1991, George H.W. Bush acted- he sent the United States military to dislodge Hussein. The result was a free Kuwait. When George W. Bush saw that Iraq was a problem in the global war on radical Islam we are currently fighting, he also acted before the problem could get worse- he sent in the United States military. The result, if the Democrats and the Left fail to convince us of defeat, will ultimately be a free Iraq.

Liberals' plans for a better world seem to involve lots of Big Government and the lessening of actual choices for ordinary people like most of us- children of privilege like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards somehow seem to expect that their ideal State will leave their massive wealth somehow intact.

Conservatives' plans for a better country usually involve getting government out of people's pockets and allowing more personal choice. While many liberals are undoubtedly well-meaning people, they lack an understanding that we live in an imperfect world and the only way to ensure our own survival is to be strong enough to fight and win when our lifestyle and our culture are attacked. Talking to a Stalin, a Hitler and a Mao Tse-tung (or a Saddam Hussein, for that matter) never works unless the dictator is frightened enough to do as you ask. Only strength can dissuade would-be conquerors. Ask the men and women of Constantinople- their weakness and that of their allies allowed Islam to conquer one of the oldest Christian cities in the world, and turn the greatest church in Christiandom into a mosque.

Liberals keep talking, but it is conservatives who guarantee them the freedom to do so. Keep that in mind the next time a liberal starts talking about how we can make the world a better place.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.