Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

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

happy Haunting!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Media Keep Pushing Bad Economy- In Republican Administrations

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

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

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

Yon On Beauchamp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Terminator for President?

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

To Ph.D or Not To PhD.?

Classic books of etiquette from the Victorian era are filled with tips on the precise way to address various titled members of society. Kings, Presidents, Lords, Generals, Viceroys, Admirals and country squires all have their particular little niche and proper mode of address. But what about Doctors of Philosophy, or as they are commonly called, PhD.s?

My father was for thirty-four years a full professor at a California State University. However, as he entered the teaching profession as a newly-minted Master of Science in the early 1950s, he never actually earned a doctorate, though he did complete coursework and a good portion of a dissertation at the University of Southern California in the mid-1980s. However, throughout his career, students were prone to addressing him as 'Doctor' a title he felt he did not deserve and which he did his best to dissuade said students from using. He preferred to be addressed as 'Professor' or even 'Mr.', both of which being titles he had long since earned and which he felt were more appropriate in any case.

National Review's resident expert on all things linguistic, Jay Nordlinger, wrote a column back in 2002 on the New York Times and its highly inconsistent approach to calling various members of academia in strikingly different manners. As Nordlinger writes,
What’s in an honorific? Not Shakespearean, I realize, but it is our topic for today. The question came up — not for the first time — when the New York Times ran its several articles on the Cornel West controversy at Harvard. (West, a star professor in the Afro-American Studies department, was tiffing with the university’s new president, Lawrence Summers. It seems that Summers wanted West to straighten up his scholarly and professorial act. West, quite naturally, got upset.) Some of us suspicious types noticed that the Times referred to West and other Afro-Am profs as “Dr.” — “Dr. West,” “Dr. Gates,” “Dr. Wilson” — while referring to Summers as plain ol’ “Mr.” (The Times did the same with the school’s former president, Neil Rudenstine. All these people have Ph.D.’s, of course.) This was passing strange — the kind of thing that “made you go, ‘Hmmm,’” in the words of the old rap song.

Nordlinger continues by pointing out that then-Harvard President Summers is himself the possessor of a doctorate in economics and was the youngest man ever to receive tenure from Harvard's Department of Economics. Economics, unlike African-American Studies, is a discipline that actually requires real research and which does not present degrees based on racial politics. However, Summers prefers to be addressed as 'Mr.' in the pages of the New York Times, as opposed to 'Dr.' Cornel West. Seems Summers perchance is less interested in parading his credentials- perhaps because those credentials have far more intrinsic prestige and value than those of Cornel West. Nordlinger ends by writing,
For some, to be called “Dr.” is a way of saying, “I am somebody,” in the words of the Rev. Jesse Jackson. (Ah, “the Rev. Mr. Jackson” and “the Rev. Al Sharpton” — that’s “a whole ’nother” article, as we say in my family.) Many years ago, another NR senior editor, Rick Brookhiser, surveying all the mail sent to Bill Buckley, adjudged that the most interesting letters were those from prison. And the least interesting? The ones from people who signed themselves “Ph.D.” I know someone who’s a lawyer in West Virginia who has found that the surest way to rattle his opposition’s expert Ph.D. witness is to refer to him as “Mr.”

But then, I have another acquaintance who earned a Ph.D. in biochem — and he pleads for his “Dr.” because, “There aren’t many perks in this line of work, and I’d like my little payoff from polite society.” Well, at least he’s not a drama teacher. The bulk of the Ph.D.’s I know balk at being called anything but “Mr.” (or maybe “Professor,” in the case of academics), believing that “Dr.” has come to mean Marcus Welby, and that’s about it. As for those who feel slighted when they are “Dr.”-less, all we can say is, “Ph.D., heal thyself.”

The entire article is an expose both on the corrupt labelling employed by so many liberal news organs and on the general practice of modes of address as practiced in the United States. Though of 2002 vintage, Nordlinger's commentary rings as true today as it did when he wrote it. Read the whole thing.

Remembering Beirut

Militant Muslims have long considered the UNited States a paper tiger. Much of the blame deserves to rest with President Clinton, who ignored attacks on US personnel and property for almost a decade. However, Clinton is not the only blame-worthy President. Presidents dating back to Jimmy Carter also deserve to share the blame for promoting the perception of the United States as a weak nation ripe for destruction. Even Ronald Reagan, who did so many positive things for this nation, deserves to share some of the blame.

Today marks the 24th anniversary of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut by the Hezbollah organization. In this attack 241 Marines were killed and many other injured. This was the first assault by Muslim fanatics on the US military, as well as being the most serious assault on United States personnel since the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, and resulted in far more fatalities. Yet the U.S reaction left much to be desired.

President Reagan reacted by pulling the Marines out of Lebanon, resulting in Islamic fanatics being able to claim (with some reason) that they had defeated the United States. As a result, Muslims like Osama bin-Laden were able to claim that the United States lacked the will to oppose fundamentalist Islam, and thus they were able to use it as a recruiting tool.

Historically, only strength is respected by most Muslims. They have no respect or appreciation for other religions or other cultures. Islam teaches its adherents that Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists are animals- not worthy of anything other than ignominious slavery or death should they reject Islam's domination. If they are willing to live in a subserviant state, then they are allowed to live, though as Saudi Arabia shows, not with any real freedom. It is indisputable that a Muslim in a Christian/Jewish/Buddhist/Hindu country has more freedom than any of the above in a Muslim country.

So remember the brave Marines who were killed by cowardly Muslim terrorists. But remember their sacrifice with this caveat- if we fail again, their deaths are truly in vain, for only if we win in IRaq, and destroy al-Quaeda's credibility do their deaths mean something. Otherwise, should our lovely anti-war, anti-patriotic Democratic Party and their shills in the mainstream media manage to bring about defeat and withdrawal, we will succeed only in allowing our allies to be slaughtered and encourage the Islamic groups who long for a worldwide Caliphate. They may not be strong enough to win today, but if we retreat again and lose this campaign, they will be strong enough someday- especially if we allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons. I hope that our leaders recognize that winning this war is imperative, and that we can elect leaders who understand this- not political opportunists who would rather sell America to China than protect their fellow Americans.

Media Reports Air America Demise, Begs for New Home

It is no secret that Air America is a favorite of most if not all the liberal denizens of many newsrooms. In Austin today, Austin Statesman reporter W. Gardner Selby cemented that reputation in his/her publicity piece on Air America's demise in Austin, Texas. Wrote Selby,
Air America seeks another home in Central Texas, but nothing is imminent, Kaufman said. He'd welcome tips at

"If someone can point me in the direction of someone more amenable to picking up our format, I'll take all the help I can get," Kaufman said.

I am aware that the liberal media will do virtually anything to try to counteract the conservative dominance of talk radio, but for a supposedly neutral reporter to publish the liberal talk radio's contact information along with a barely-disguised plea for someone to add Air American to their lineup strikes me as somehow beyond the pale. Can anyone imagine a similar cry for help if Rush went off the air due to low ratings?

However, Selby makes his/her own personal feelings even clearer by quoting from a poster on the Democratic Underground website- a site whose partisanship is not in question. Yet Selby apparently considers them mainstream enough to use as a quote, writing,
A blogger writing on was dismayed. "This is a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic, but the right-wing talk radio stations in town consistently get much better ratings."

It seems to me that if Air America could not succeed in Austin- one of the most liberal cities in the United States, then perhaps Selby and his friends on the Democratic Underground might consider that their product is less than appealing, or perhaps, echoes that of the so-called mainstream media a little too closely. People welcome alternative voices, not a single ideological echo chamber. If the liberals understood this, they might understand why the mainstream media is losing their audience and why liberal talk radio consistently fails so spectacularly. But of course, if they could understand that, they would not be the monolithically liberal media. Hat tip to NewsBusters reader Gregg Geil. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hillary's Asian Donors- Will Media Investigate?

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have a history of fund-raising from shadowy Asian donors. Bill was connected with such donors in a scandal that was never fully investigated due to most of the targets fleeing to their native countries. Now the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Hillary also is gaining money from Asian sources that would seem to merit some investigation. The question is- will the rest of the mainstream media actually follow up and report it? Other than the LA Times and a story in the Washington Times, I have yet to find any mention of this in other media outlets. According to the Times story,
The Times examined the cases of more than 150 donors who provided checks to Clinton after fundraising events geared to the Chinese community. One-third of those donors could not be found using property, telephone or business records. Most have not registered to vote, according to public records.
And several dozen were described in financial reports as holding jobs -- including dishwasher, server or chef -- that would normally make it difficult to donate amounts ranging from $500 to the legal maximum of $2,300 per election.
Of 74 residents of New York's Chinatown, Flushing, the Bronx or Brooklyn that The Times called or visited, only 24 could be reached for comment.
Many said they gave to Clinton because they were instructed to do so by local association leaders. Some said they wanted help on immigration concerns. And several spoke of the pride they felt by being associated with a powerful figure such as Clinton.
This would seem to be an area where the FBI should be investigating if the donors actually gave of their free will, or if their contributions were 'bundled' and they were later illegally reimbursed. The story continues by saying, that at least some donors' existence could not even be confirmed. The Times wrote,
The tenement at 44 Henry St. was listed in Clinton's campaign reports as the home of Shu Fang Li, who reportedly gave $1,000.
In a recent visit, a man, apparently drunk, was asleep near the entrance to the neighboring beauty parlor, the Nice Hair Salon.
A tenant living in the apartment listed as Li's address said through a translator that she had not heard of him, although she had lived there for the last 10 years.
A man named Liang Zheng was listed as having contributed $1,000. The address given was a large apartment building on East 194th Street in the Bronx, but no one by that name could be located there.
If Hillary is gaining illegal contributions that may be coming from foreign sources, or if her campaign is using asssociations to force residents to contribute, then they are breaking the law, and should be investigated and prosecuted. The LA Times admits that it was not able to confirm the existence of some of these listed donors. The question now is, will the media actually spend any effort in investigating these shadowy donors? Based on past experience, I'm not holding my breath. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Michigan Girl to Marry Arab- Family Fears For Safety

What is about Islamic terrorists that attracts ignornat American teenagers? The Michigan teenager, Katherine Lester, who tried once before to sneak off to join her myspace boyfriend in the West bank has once again traveled to the Middle East to marry him and convert to Islam. As she is now 18, legally her parents cannot stop her. According to Michigan CBS affiliate WMEN,
or the second time in two years, Katharine Lester boarded a plane to the West Bank to be with a Palestinian man she met on

Lester’s first attempt was thwarted when FBI agents intervened and returned the then-16-year-old to her parents in Michigan.

Lester, now 18, was at the airport with her passport in hand, and there was little her parents could do to stop her.

One family member told TV5 that she worries Lester won’t come back, and that she won’t ever see her again. The family member went on to say “I’m just really scared. I hope that she comes back safe.”

This is so true. Muslims, especially Arab Muslims, have no respect for women and since the man in question, a suposedly 20-year old 'computer major' who signs himself 'Abdullah Psycho' on his myspace page, would not visit the United States and insisted on the girl traveling to his area of the world. I seriously doubt this guy is 20, and once the girl is married to him, under sharia, she has no rights, and cannot even escape him. Undoubtedly he will use her to gain entry into the United States and kill more of us.

My question is for the parents. You had a year with your daughter. How is it that you weree unablee to open her eyes as to what Islam really is? I cannot believe she got a real understanding living in liberal Michigan, but the truth is not hard to find. On the other hand, teenage girls are prone to silly beliefs about their boyfirends, and perhaps it was too late by the time her family realized that she was determined to be with this probable Islamic terrorist.

As I wrote in my intial post on the topic, mothers, watch your daughters. Islamists are trying hard to convince these gullible teenss that they are for real, and once they gain possession, there is nothing the family can do undcer Islamic law- women are proerty. All we can do is to watch what our daughters are doing onh the Internet and try to preach the truth about Islam.

I feel very sorry for this idiot girl's family and can only pray that Katherine Lester herself comes to no worse harm than she already has. However, considering the religikon into which she is planning to marry, and considering the habits of most Arab Muslims, I doubt that this will have a happy ending either for the girl or her family.

Media Won't Report On Bush Malaria Initiative

Since 2000, the mainstream media has conducted a war against the Bush Adminstration the likes of which have not been seen since their equally vitriolic campaign against Richard Nixon. They have refused to publish anything positive about Bush or his Administration, they have manufactured scandals out of nothing (Valorie Plame) while doing their best to expose secret operations that are protecting Americans and they have consistently refused to accurately report the good economic news.

Today comes even more evidence of just how badly the press has failed in their duty to report to the American public. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft corporation, spoke to a forum to discuss fighting malaria. As reported by Power Line, Gates said,
Today, malaria kills more than one million people every year, most of them children in Africa. That's the equivalent of losing every student in the New York City public school system in one year.

We know that eradicating malaria is an audacious goal. But advances in science and medicine, new political commitments, and the dedication of people like you have given the world an historic opportunity to conquer malaria. It won't be easy and it won't happen quickly, but I'm optimistic that we can make this disease history.

At the forum in Seattle, Melinda and I called on the U.S. presidential candidates to commit to expand the President's Malaria Initiative, a great program started by President Bush. I hope you will join us in asking all of the candidates to make this pledge and keep the fight against malaria on the national agenda.

Funny- I don't recall any press organization ever mentioning that President Bush had started an anti-malaria program? Just as they prefer to downplay this Administration's efforts in Africa (which dwarfed the better-known efforts of Clinton), and snipe at the President whenever and wherever they can. As one example of the disparity in how Bush and Clinton were covered on the topic, The Washington Post published an article on Bush's African efforts in 2005- on Page 22. A less-expansive Clintonian intiative received Page 2 coverage.

I would wish that the Press would perform their duty to inform and report fairly, but alas that is a duty that the Press is all too unfamiliar with. So we can only hope that the citizenry relies less and less on these dinosaurs of the Old Media, and remove their patronage from the corporations who employ these propagandists. The sooner, the better. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pro-Military Supporters Outnumber Protestors in Berkeley- Will MSM Report This?

The mainstream media (ABC, NBC, CBS, New York Times, CNN, etc) have made their opposition to the US campaign against Islamic terror, particularly the current Iraq campaign a centerpiece of their coverage almost since the beginning. Current headline stories include complaints that not enough bodies are available to graveyards and complaints that not enough US soldiers are killing their commanders, a practice known as 'fragging'. Further examples of the media's partisanship include their constant hero-worship of people like Cindy Sheehan and their ignoring of other soldiers' parents who still support the campaign and the President.

Today, a group of Code Pink protestors assembled in front of Berkeley's Marine recruiting office to protest, but unfortuantely for them, they were far outnumbered by pro-military supporters, who gathered across Shattuck Avenue. As the COntra Costa Times reported,
Protests in Berkeley are nothing new.

A protest of a protest is unique -- even in Berkeley.

On one side of the street was CodePINK, Grandmothers Against the War, Berkeley East Bay Gray Panthers, Women in Black and other peace groups holding "no war" signs and chanting "out of Iraq."

On the other were military veterans, mothers and fathers of soldiers, members of the UC Berkeley College Republicans and Melanie Morgan, whose conservative talk show airs on KSFO. They waved American flags and chanted "USA, USA, USA."

To their credit, the Contra Costa Times led its story with the report that the pro-military group vastly outnumbered the anti-American Code Pink. However, I have yet to see a single mainstream media organization pick the story up other than Drudge. I won't hold my breath- reporting this story would force media organizations to acknowledge that their constant protrayal of Iraq and the war against Islamic terror as hugely unpopular is not as representative of the truth as they would like. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Airport Screeners: Private Contractors Perform Better

I have argued for a long time that creating the vast bureaucracy of the Department of Homeland Security is a bad idea as it has been executed. The original idea was good- to centralise intelligence operations and remove Jamie Gorelick's wall between intelligence and law enforcement. However, as put into practice, the DHS has been a huge boondoggle that simply exacerbates the public's patience.

In a story today, USA Today highlights the fact that the government, while its intentions may be good, simply cannot match private enterprise in either competence or in efficiency. A new TSA survey of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Chicago O'Hare International Airport and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) found that the TSA-employed screeners at Chicago and Los Angeles missed over 60 percent of the guns, bombs and other weapons that TSA testers carried in tests. LAX's screeners in particular performed abysmally, missing over 75 percent of the test weapons. However, the privately-employed screeners at SFo missed only about 20 percent of the testers' weapons. According to USA Today,
A report on covert tests in 2002 found screeners failed to find fake bombs, dynamite and guns 24% of the time. The TSA ran those tests shortly after it took over checkpoint screening from security companies.

Tests earlier in 2002 showed screeners missing 60% of fake bombs. In the late 1990s, tests showed that screeners missed about 40% of fake bombs, according to a separate report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

These tests should put to rest the idea that government can be trusted to perfom any task better than private enterprise. While the business of national defense (maintaining armed forces and providing the equipment necessary) and representing Americans abroad can be perfromed only by government, the component pieces of defense, such as security screening, can best be carried out by companies that are accountable. Government, especially the beaureaucracy, has virtually no accountability, which is why such programs as Social Security or the DHS are such disastrous failures.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We Shoot Guns- Lots of Guns

So writes former Marine Marco Martinez, author of the new book Hard Corps: From Gangster to Marine Hero in a highly entertaining article for in which he asks the very valid question, "Why are conservatives and Republicans more likely to support the military than liberals and Democrats?"

As one might expect, Martinez provides an answer- a list of reasons why conservatives tend to be more supportive of the military than liberals. According to him, these reasons include,
1. The military sees a clear difference between good and evil.
2. Veterans view themselves as servants, not victims.
3. The military stresses hard work, self-discipline and personal responsibility.
4. Service members understand that freedom is not free.
5. The military shoots guns. Lots of guns.

Martinez then proceeds to illuminate each of his points with examples as to why conservatives find much more affinity with servicemen and servicewomen than liberals. As Martinez writes about the idea of good versus evil,
The minute you start thinking that there’s no such thing as good and evil, right and wrong, it’s virtually impossible to support an organization like the military. The military applies lethal force in the service of what our nation deems “good” and “right.” If you believe that nothing is black and white, and that everything is morally gray, it’s hard to choose sides.

Some liberals sort of remind me of that lyric from that old song that goes: “There ain’t no good guys, there ain’t no bad guys. There’s only you and me and we just disagree.”

Marines don’t “disagree” with the enemy. We shoot to kill.

This is an idea that most liberals reflectively recoil from. They prefer to go to photo-opportunities with people like Kim Jong Il as Madeleine Albright did, or to sit down and hug evil dictators, as Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter so love to do. Conservatives and military members, in contrast, prefer to eliminate the menace before it can eliminate us.

But Martinez' best line comes when he writes Reason Number 5, "The military shoots guns. Lots of guns." about conservatives' affinity for the Second Amendment. Martinez then says of his final point,
Okay, so I thought I’d lighten it up a bit. But I’m only half-joking. Conservatives support gun rights and the use of lethal force to protect innocent people. The military does, too. As I say, violence isn’t senseless. Senseless violence is senseless.

Yes, and this is the fundamental difference between consservatives and liberals, and the ehart of why conservatives are so much more likely to support the military. Conservatives, as Martinez writes, believe that it is appropriate to use force, inlcuding lethal force, to protect their principles and to protect those who are innocent. Modern liberals, on the other hand, believe that force is never justified, unless it is for something that has absolutely no relationship to their own interests. This is why liberals like to use the military as a glorified police force- something for which it was never intended- and conservatives understand its true nature.

Until liberals can both understand and appreciate the need to use force in defence of one's peinciples, they will always lack in supporting a military that they can neither understand nor appreciate.

Ohio Rep Shows Students Porn, Media Omits Party

It's time for yet another edition of Name That Party! According to NBC station WKYC, Ohio State Representative Matt Barrett was giving a lecture to some high school students when he inserted a memory stick and showed them a nude picture. Guess which party he belongs to? Supplementary credit will be given for guessing if the story included that affiliation anywhere.

Regarding the actual incident, WKYC reported that,
The school's technology director looked at the memory stick and determined that it had a directory of nude images.

Barrett tells Channel 3 News that he reported the incident to the school principal as well as the Superintendent. Norwalk Police were called to the scene as well and eventually the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Barrett says the stick was a gift and he has no idea where the images came from but hopefully the Norwalk Police or OSP will have some answers for him within a few days as to what caused the glitch and where the image originated.

However, nowhere in the story is Barrett's party affiliation identified. I was able to find Barrett's party affiliation (he's a Democrat) by performing a Google search. Keep in mind that when Republican elected representatives engage in any kind of unbecoming conduct, it is splashed all over the front pages with their party prominently included, yet incidents like this one sseem to receive entirely different treatment. Media bias? Oh, THAT media bias. Hat tip to NewsBusters reader David Anasco. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

AP Ignores China's Occupation of Tibet

The media is very pleased to report about the United States' occupation of Iraq, and they never seem to tire of insinuating that it is both unpopular and illegal. However, they seem to be strangely shy of reporting on other occupations, which are both more long-standing and of a imperialistic nature.

A case in point is the Associated Press story today on President Bush's meeting with the Dalai Lama, the exiled god-king of Tibet. Tibet, a historically independent kingdom, has been under a Chinese military occupation since 1950. Yet the AP chooses not to mention any of this in their report, which instead concentrates on the Chinese outrage that President Bush would meeet with the leader of an occupied state. The AP wrote in their second paragraph that,
Both Bush and members of Congress - who are presenting him with the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday - are stirring anger in China by honoring the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet's Buddhists.

"We solemnly demand that the U.S. cancel the extremely wrong arrangements," said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing. "It seriously violates the norm of international relations and seriously wounded the feelings of the Chinese people and interfered with China's internal affairs."

At the White House, presidential spokesman Tony Fratto said: "We understand the concerns of the Chinese." But he also said Bush always has attended congressional award presentation ceremonies, has met with the Dalai Lama several times before and had no reason not to meet with him again.

Although was very diligent in reporting China's anger at the US agreement to receive the Dalai Lama, the AP seems much less interested in telling their readers about China's occupation of Tibet, against the wishes of many, if not most, of the Tibetans. The AP's only mention of the fact that China's military currently occupies Tibet comes in the very last paragraph, in which they write,
The Dalai Lama is immensely popular in Tibet, which China has ruled with a heavy hand since its communist-led forces invaded in 1951. He has been based in India since fleeing his Himalayan homeland in 1959 amid a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

It seems that the AP reserves its disapproval for invasions carried out by the United States in pursuit of defending itself against Islamic terror. Invasions carried out by Communist countries for purely imperialistic reassons do not merit such disapproval.

On a related note, I am still waiting for the AP or any other major media organ to discuss the long-standing Syrian occupation of Lebanon in anything close to the terms of disapproval they use for talking about Iraq and/or Israel's former occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. But then to expect that wouldd be to require journalists to exercise consistency and objectivity- traits which I fear are a lost art among most current practicioners of the journalistic profession. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Murderers Aren't Cool

Murderers are not cool, though much of the Left does not appear to know that. Leftists are always happy to idolize Fidel Castro, Mao Tse-tung, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot and others of their ilk. However the most irritating of thee lionized murderers has to be the late, unlamented Che Guevara, who finally met justice on October 9, 1969 in Bolivia. For some mysterious reason, many young, ignorants seem to think wearing the visage of this mass murderer on their T-shirts and other articles of clothing is somehow cool and stylish. This is about as logical as the equally ignorant middle class youths who believe that emulating black prison fashion, complete with its baggy pants and sideways hats is somehow the height of style. The prevalence of Guevara's face on the clothing of the inhabitants of 'progressive' places like San Francisco causes me to wonder whether they actually know who this butcher was, or if they are merely indoctrinated fools who do know and are advocating replicating Guevara's acts of mass murder upon their countrymen.

However, since the fortieth anniversary of his death passed unremembered here at StoneHeads, I decided to follow the advice of the Power Line crew and join the Facebook group Che Guevara Was a Murderer and Your T-shirt Is Not Cool. I highly recommend this site for all who actually know the history of Guevara's bloody passage through Latin America. As for the useful idiots who wear Guevara's face on their attire, they demonstrate merely that ignorance is to be found among the most unlikely people. Why Americans (who are privileged to live in one of the most free and wealthiest places on Earth) would want to idolize a murderer who desperately wanted to replace their freedom with a particularly repressive form of dictatorship (also known as Communism) escapes me, but as I said, ignorance and foolishness are no strangers to those who should know better. One has only to look at the modern Democratic Party's' embrace of Islamic barbarians to appreciate this fact.

Two pictures of Guevara following his execution can be found on the site as well. I paste the link to the first picture here and the second picture's link here. Be warned, it lacks the glamor so many young fools seem to associate with the Cuban Butcher. But it may disillusion those who seem to think that Marxist revolutionaries somehow are glamorous folks. I hate to pour cold water on your fantasies, but revolutionaries like Guevara are in fact murderous thugs, and we can only hope that they end like he did- unglamorously lined up against a wall for the firing squad.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Goodbye to Grizzly Flats

The Grizzly Flats Railroad is soon to be no more. For those who are unaware of this unique peice of Americana, Grizzly Flats was a private narrow-guage railroad built and maintained by Walt Disney animator Ward Kimball. From 1942 until Ward's death in 2002, the Grizzly Flats Railroad ran over a 500-foot stretch of track in Kimball's three-acre backyard. The main engine used was a restored Baldwin steam locomotive built in 1881 named the Emma Nevada, which was donated to the Orange Empire Railway museum in Perris, California in 2001.

Ward Kimball was also the founder and leader of the famouse jazz band the Firehouse Five Plus Two, and the backyard railway housed for many years the firehouse wherein were parked the antique fire engines he bought for the band's many public performances.

However, it appears that the famed railway will soon be no more. According to Steve Hulett's The Animation Guild blog, Grizzly Flats is being slowly removed. Hulett reports that the track has already been removed and while Kimball's famous depot station will be preserved on the Sonoma estate of John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios), the old firehouse where the Firehouse Five's fire equipment lived and the engine house where the Grizzly Flats rolling stock was stored will both be demolished. The Firehouse Five fire equipment was donated to the Travel Town museum in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. Hulett quotes the Los Angeles Times as saying of the railway,
It was short in length — but long in its reach.

The Grizzly Flats Railroad's steam engines traveled for 70 years along a 500-foot-long stretch of rails next to the San Gabriel home of Betty and Ward Kimball.

Along the way, the Kimballs' picturesque narrow-gauge line helped inspire Walt Disney to build the famous passenger train system that circles Disneyland.

Now, though, its locomotives, vintage cars and caboose have been hauled away, and workers have finished pulling out the steel rails and wooden ties. Soon, the antique-looking Grizzly Flats train depot will be dismantled. The old train barn and firehouse will be demolished.

"It's an emotional thing. But it has to be done," said John Kimball, the couple's 66-year-old son...

It is truly the end of an era. Grizzly Flats will live on in the permanent exhibit at the Orange Empire Railway Museum, but the railway that sparked so many memories is gone. I never got the opportunity to meet Ward Kimball or to ride on his famed railway, but he provided much inspiration and his railway will be sorely missed, as will his many other acheivements. Goodbye, Grizzly Flats!

USS Cole Anniversary: Media Silent

On this day in the year 2000, the guided missile destroyer USS Cole was attacked by Islamic terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden's al-Quaeda group. Today is the seventh anniversary of that attack. Seventeen American sailors were killed and thirty-eight injured in the attack which severely damaged the ship. Yet not a single major media organ has reported this so far.

Attacking a ship of war has been long viewed as an act of war. The most recent example occurred in 1968 when North Korea attacked the USS Pueblo. To our national shame, the Pueblo is still in the hands of the North Koreans. A rather more forceful response occurred in 1941, when Japan attacked the US Pacific Fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor.

However, then-President Bill Clinton did not respond to the attack, emboldening the Islamists who viewed the United States as a paper tiger. The attack on the Cole was one of a series of attacks on Americans throughout the decade of the 1990s to which the United States failed to respond. This eventually led to al-Quaeda and its allies decided to attack the Twin Towers in 2001. Unfortunately for them, President George W. Bush took a different view, correctly deciding to respond with military force. Since 2001, there have been no further successful attacks on American soil, though we remain engaged in a military offensive against the Islamic terrorists.

However, despite the significance of today's date, not a single major media organ has chosen to cover it. Why? CNN felt that news about Britney Spears' thoughts on her children were important enough to put on their front page, but there is no mention of the attack on the Cole. MSNBC has former Vice-President Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize3 plastered all over the front page, but there is no mention of the anniversary of the attack on the Cole. What happened to remembering cowardly attacks on Americans and avenging them? The attack on the Maine sparked a war with Spain. the attack on Pearl harbor sparked US involvement in World War II- a war that ended with then unconditional surrender of our opponents. Yet not a single media organ seems to care that Americans were attacked and killed.

Does our media not care? They are assiduous in reporting deaths of Muslims at the hands of Americans- even when those deaths did not occur, or when those killed were actually terrorists (see Haditha). Yet the anniversary of an unprovoked attack on a US warship that resulted in the deaths of American military personnel does not even warrant a mention on the anniversary. I can only gather that to the US media, Muslim terrorist lives are more important than American military lives. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

CORRECTION: I initially typed 'North Vietnam' instead of 'North Korea' in describing the 1968 attack on the Pueblo. It was North Korea, not Vietnam, that attacked and seized the Pueblo. Thanks to numerous commenters for pointing out the initial error.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pot To Kettle- You're Black!

According to al-Reuters news agency, former President Jimmy Carter called current Vice-President Richard Cheney a disaster for the United States". Carter was speaking in Washington DC, to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Reuters quoted Carter as saying,
"He's a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military and he has been most forceful in the last 10 years or more in fulfilling some of his more ancient commitments that the United States has a right to inject its power through military means in other parts of the world," Carter told the BBC World News America in an interview to air later on Wednesday.

"You know he's been a disaster for our country," Carter said. "I think he's been overly persuasive on President George Bush and quite often he's prevailed."

Asked to respond, Cheney refused to lower himself to Carter's level, responding through spokesperson Megan Mitchell that "we're not going to engage in this type of rhetoric."

I find this to be appalling and ridiculous at the same time. Considering Carter's record in office, for him to accuse anyone of being a disaster for the United States is the height of idiocy. After all, this is the man who gave away one of the United States' prime security assets in the Panama Canal, who allowed Iranian terrorists to hold American diplomatic and military personnel hostage for over a year, whose weak response to said kidnapping ensured that we now face a theocratic, fundamentalist Iran determined to destroy us, and whose domestic policy nearly crippled the United States economy. Subsequent to being summarily rejected in the 1980 elecetion, Carter has made common cause with such undemocratic, autocratic leaders as Fidel Castro of Cuba, Mahmoud Ahmajedhadi of Iran, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. He has undermined United States policy and has broken the traditional rule of respect for his successors, issuing derogatory comments about the current President.

Whether or not Richard Cheney is in fact a disaster for the United States can only be judged at a distance, once this Administration is out of office. It is almost impossible to judge a Presidential Administration at close range, though I rather suspect that the Bush Administration will score relatively well once time has had a chance to take effect. History has judged Carter to be a very poor President with reason and perhaps he feels guilty for how badly his term in office appears in restrospect. But that is no excuse to undermine the current Adminstration. Carter has become a national disgrace and the sooner he realizes this and retreats into deserved obscurity, the better this nation will be. Comments like this one are both hilarious considering the issuer's record and appalling for the lack of class it reveals for the commenter and the lack of respect it shows both of the office of President and the current occupant.

Muslims To Christians: Make Peace Or Else

Islam has a long history of imperialism and bloody conquest against non-Islamic cultures. Cases in point include the unprovoked invasion and conquest of the classical Mediterranean cultures (Carthage, Egypt) of North Africa through the sixth and early seventh centuries and the equally unprovoked invasion of Spain in 715. This invasion continued until Charles Martel's victory in 732 at the Battle of Tours halted Islam's attempt to conquer Europe. Other examples include the Mughal conquest of India, the destruction in 1453 of the ancient Christian kingdom of Byzantium (today known as Turkey) despite Byzantium's history of cooperating with Islamic kingdoms and the Ottoman invasion of Europe that ended before the walls of Vienna in 1683. Sandwiched in betweem were many more Muslim invasions of Europe. Compare this with no Christian invasions of native Islamic land (the Crusades did not invade any historically Muslim land- Jerusalem was not historically a Muslim city).

Contrast this bloody march of conquest with Christianity's history- a religion that spread from the slaves through the middle and upper classes and finally came to be the faith of kings. At very few times in Christianity's history can one find examples of conversion by force, and nowhere can Christianity match Islam's bloody record of destroying civilizations and converting entire populations by the sword. Although Christian kings fought viciously against each other, there was never any concerted attempt by the Christian powers to destroy of even invade Islamic heartlands, despite the great provocation given by the repeated Muslim attemtps to conquer Europe. While this was probably due more to the nature of political infighting amongst the Western leaders than anything else, it is significant that no Pope or Emperor ever tried, aside from the Crusades, which wree primarily to aid Byzantium and recapture the holy city of Jerusalem.

With this history, does it not seem strange that 138 leading Islamic scholars have sent a letter pleading for Christians and Muslims to make peace to many leading Christian leaders? According to the United Kingdom's Evening Standard,
Prominent Muslim scholars are warning that the "survival of the world" is at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace with each other.
In an unprecedented open letter signed by 138 leading Muslim scholars from every sect of Islam, the Muslims plead with Christian leaders "to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions."


The Muslim scholars state: "As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them - so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes."
The phrasing has similarities to the New Testament passage: "He that is not with me is against me" - a passage used by President George Bush when addressing a joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11.

The hypocrisy in this letter is towering. Firstly, the Muslim scholars claim if Islam and Christianity do not make peace the "survival of the world is at stake". This sounds suspiciously like a threat to me. Secondly, they claim that Islam is not against Christians. Really? Then why are all the atttacks against Christians, Americans and other non-Islamic peoples always clothed in religious motives. bin Laden and the zealots of al-Quaeda and Hezbollah have never been shy at proclaiming their religious motivation. However, the Muslim scholars pass this point with no comment and proceed to say that "as long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion..." Did the Muslim scholars somehow miss the fact that the current war, at least according to American leadership, has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam as a whole? American leaders have been careful to state that they are waging war against the miscreants who bombed the World Trade Center and the states who have aided them. This includes Saddam Hussein's Iraq. At no point has any American leader called this war a fight against Islam. It has been called a war on terror and various other names, but never has it been cast as a war against Islam. Only the Islamics we are fighting have cast it in religious terms.

And that brings up a second point. Certain elements of Islam started this war, not the West. The West, in particular the United States, has actually fought for Muslims, both in Bosnia and in the Middle East. US soldiers were stationed in Saudi Arabia at the request of Saudi leadership to protect them against fellow Muslim Saddam Hussein. US soldiers also liberated Kuwait (a Muslim country) from Iraq (another Muslim country) in the First Gulf War. And the United States supported the (Muslim) mujahadeen who helped drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan.

To me this smacks of the classic Islamic idea that when one is being defeated, it is acceptable to call for a truce, which should be used to rearm and refresh oneself before continuing the battle. And this seems more evidence that the United States is currently winning the war against Islamic fundamentalism, if leading Islamic scholars are calling for a truce. I hope and trust that the Christian leaders to whom this letter is addressed treat it with the appropriate solemnity- they drop it in the nearest wastebin. I believe that there are essentially only two kinds of peace- the kind of a resounding victory and the kind of defeat and submission. Detente falls into the 'peace through strength' category, as it is enforced by a willingness to fight for one's beliefs. Which kind do we want?

If Islam truly wants peace with Christians, perhaps they could abandon the anti-Christian rhetoric issuing from so many mosques around the world. Perhaps Saudi Arabia could discontinue its sponsorship of the radical, anti-American Wahhabi sect, which preaches violence against America. Perhaps Muslim nations could eliminate their anti-Bible laws, and no longer execute Muslims who wish to convert from their barbarous religion to one that is kinder and gentler. Perhaps Islam could begin an honest debate about how seriously the Koran should be taken. Perhaps Muslim nations should do a better job preventing Muslim fanatics from executing people memerly for the crime of being non-Muslim. Perhaps Islamic nations should actually offer protection to the non-Muslims who live in their midst, instead of encouraging the medievalist who want them dead. And most of all, perhaps Muslim nations can cease their autocratic leadership practices and give their people some real rights, along with disposing of the medieval notion that women are merely baby factories. if the people were to be granted some enlightened leadership, then perhaps the fundamentalists would be less successful in their proselytizing.

Christian nations are perfectly ready to live in peace with Islam. But we are not willing to live in the kind of peace that Islam too often brings- the peace of submission and dhimmitude. If Islam is willing to renounce its violent and imperialist tendencies towards us, we are perfectly happy to live side-by-side. But we will not tolerate any further attempts to conquer us, and Islam has made too many of these attempts for this poor writer to trust them any further than needs be. I can only hope our leaders are similarly wary, for I do not wish to live under sharia. Not now, and not ever.

Atlantic City Mayor Resigns: Media Omit Party Affiliation

It's time for 'Name That Party' again. The besieged mayor of Atlantic City, Robert Levy, resigned today after allegations of claiming false military benefits, according to his lawyer. The lawyer also gave a reason for Levy's disappearance.
Attorney Edwin Jacobs said that the mayor had been undergoing treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues since city officials last heard from him Sept. 26.

However, according to the story in the Los Angeles Times, there were even larger reasons for Levy's disappearance- he was under investigation by Federal officials for falsely claiming military benefits to which he had no right. The Times reported,
Federal officials have been looking into whether Levy, 64, lied about his service in order to increase his veteran's benefits. The mayor was in the Army for 20 years -- serving two tours of duty in Vietnam -- and received numerous medals, awards and citations, Jacobs said.

"The pending investigation has called into question two of those awards, neither of which appear to be supported by an appropriate military order," Jacobs said.

So we have a mayor who is under investigation for claiming false military benefits and who is undergoing substance abuse treatment, yet somehow the media, in this case the LA Times, cannot be bothered to mention the mayor's party affiliation in their entire article on the subject. Hint- he's not a Republican.

Once again, the media has shown their bias. Republicans' party affiliation will be mentioned even in articles where there is clearly no reason, yet a Democrat who commits crimes can be assured of remaining unidentified with the national party. Media bias? Oh, you mean THAT media bias. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Belmont Extends Nanny State

Liberals like to claim that the Bush Administration has restricted civil rights, though they are hard-pressed to actually provide any examples of said restrictions. However, when a California city really does infringe upon the civil rights of its citizens, the same liberals are mostly silent.

Belmont, California, a city located slightly south of San Francisco, has just made smoking inside apartments illegal. The local news channel, NBC 11, headlined the article as Belmont Bans Smoking In Some Homes'. And in an entirely approving style, the article reported that,
Thought to be the first of its kind in California, the ordinance declares secondhand smoke a public nuisance and extends the city's current smoking ban to include multi-unit, multi-story residences.

Though Belmont and some other California cities already restrict smoking in multi-unit common areas, Belmont is the first city to extend secondhand smoke regulation to the inside of individual apartment units.

The article was not approviong of the efforts to stop the ban, hinting at a well-organized conspiracy. As the article said,
NBC11 reporter Noelle Walker said three City Council members have received more e-mails about the proposed ban than any other issue ever. Belmont Mayor Coralin Feierbach told NBC11 her mailbox was filled with the hate-filled e-mails.

Upset citizens are comparing the proposed ban to Nazi rules.

"Following in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler with your no public smoking ordinance …," writes one opponent of the ban.

Many of the letters are littered with expletives.

"If America is lucky, someone will cut all of your *** throats," one letter said.

Another letter threatens, "Your friends will get a 747 loaded with fuel…"

The same letter ends with "Have a nice day."

Feierbach believes the strong opposition is part of an organized effort from the pro-smoking site

Part of the group's mission, according to their Web site, is to provide a forum for smokers to express concerns about, "… discrimination against smokers in all of the many forms that it takes these days."

Isn't it funny how liberals are so approving of young children viewing pornography withn or without their parents' knowledge, and don't seem to have a problem with girls receiving abortions without parental permission, but when it comes to telling others where and when they may smoke, they see no problem with extending their jurisdiction into people's homes.

And the media is at least partly to blame. If they truly were interested in protecting citizens from government over-reaching, then this kind of law ought to be high on their list of things to oppose, for it is just as much a violation of privacy as an illegal wiretap. And in this case, there is no pretence that the citizen in question is doing something illegal,, for smoking, while unhealthy, is not illegal.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thoughts On Fleet Week

I was in San Francisco over the past weekend for the annual festivities of Fleet Week. Every time I go, I am struck by how badly San Francisco treats the United States military for 360 days out of the year, and yet how much they love the money the Navy brings to the former home of so many military personnel. I watched the Blue Angels air show from a small park at the corner of Steiner and Clay streets, and I was surprised at how much oohing and ahhing took place from the spectators. Considering that most inhabitants of San Francisco would rather welcome Osama bin Laden than a member of the United States armed forces, the crowd was quite surprisingly respectful.

San Francisco's hatred of all things military is always surprising to me, considering how much the city owes the military. San Franscisco would not be a part of the United States were it not for Commodore Stockton's squadron during the Mexican-American War, and Treasure Island, Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard and the famed Presidio have all helped make San Fransciso into one of the nation's most famous cities. But you would never know that listening to current Mayor Gavin Newsom. The Mayor is more interested in philandering and drinking on the job than actually trying to support the brave men and women who allow him to pursue his hobbies in peace.

The latest example of San Francisco's hostility to the military came when san Francisco supervisors refused to allow the United States Marines to film a recruiting commercial in the city, citing 'traffic concerns'. It's Ok to shut down any number of city streets for the Folsom Street Fair, complete with nudity, public sex and bondage on view, but the Marines might cause 'traffic issues'??? Of course, reason should not be expected from the San Franscisco supervisors. These are the same people who refused to allow the USS Iowa, class ship of the last battleships, and sister to the USS Missouri, on whose decks World War II ended, to dock in their city. These are also the same people who feel that they have the right to flout United States immigration laws by refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officers. As a result of their lack of patriotism, the Iowa will probably end up in Stockton, a city that seems to appreciate the contributions of the United States military.

One sometimes wishes that San Franscisco and other far-left havens such as Berkeley could be excluded from the protection that the military provides to this country. However, I have many friends who work in the city, and I would hate for them to reap what the supervisors' stupidity has sowed. Otherwise, I heartily agree with Keith Laumer, who once had a character opine that San Fransciscans were remarkable only in their ease of replacement.

A Truly Smart Car

I posted last month about Newsweek magazine's shameless shilling for Daimler-Benz's 'Smart' car brand. However, an article in Yahoo today has brought my attention to a car that Newsweek perhaps should have shilled for instead.

Produced by Japanese carmaker Nissan, the Pivo 2 is a concept car that is scheduled to be introduced at the upcoming Tokyo otor Show later this year. The Pivo can carry three adults and features a cabin that can rotate to face forward or backwards. In addition, Yahoo says of the Pivo 2,
Its wheels also turn 90 degrees, making parking easier.

"With this easy-to-handle car, you can feel comfortable while driving," said Masahiko Tabe, senior manager of the advanced vehicle development group at Nissan Motors.

"You can go everywhere without worrying about your driving skills." The car is as yet not for commercial sale.

The futuristic, three-seat car also comes with a robotic device that Nissan said monitors the driver's expression using censors and tailors its conversation accordingly.

The device, able to converse in English and Japanese, can help an angry driver overcome road rage or wake you up if you're prone to dozing behind the wheel, the car makers said.

Now if they could only produce it in electric!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Birth of the Flying Boat

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

On October 5, 1913, the first amphibious flying boat was tested at Hammondsport, New York. The flying boat was designated as OWL, which stood for Over Water Land Type. This test led to a deeper program and eventually to the many amphibious flying boats that have served theis country ever since. One of the mopst famous that eventually resulted from this was the classic PBY (Catalina) flying boat used so successfully during the Seconed World War.

...And Justice For All

The other shoe has finally dropped in the Duke Rape Hoax. According to The Johnsville News, the three falsely accused Duke lacrosse players, Reasde Seligmann, Colin Finnerty and Dave Evans have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, several officers of the Durham Police Department and the City of Durham.

According to the Raleigh-Durham News & Observer newspaper, the suit wants,
i. appoints an independent monitor (the "Monitor"), to be determined by the Court, who shall oversee certain activities of the Durham Police Department for a period of ten (10) years, and who shall report to the Court on an annual basis regarding Defendants' compliance or non-compliance with the terms of the Permanent Injunction;

ii. authorizes the Monitor to establish, review, and enforce all policies applicable to the management of the Durham Police Department;

iii. provides the Monitor with the authority to hire, fire, and promote all Durham Police officials, including the Chief of Police;

iv. establishes an independent citizen Police Review Committee, composed of three members selected by the Court, which shall review and hear publicly complaints of misconduct by Durham residents against Durham Police personnel and make recommendations to the Monitor as to discipline or innocence;

v. orders that all eyewitness identification arrays, lineups, and similar procedures conducted by the Durham Police Department, whether formal or informal, and/or of suspects or "witnesses," conform to the provisions of General Order No. 4077 and be recorded by videotape;

vi. orders that any reports of DNA or other scientific testing requested by the Durham Police Department or District Attorney's Office include the results of all testing, and all notes, charts, or raw data generated during such testing, and that a copy of each such report be provided to the Monitor to ensure compliance;

vii. orders that the Durham Police Department provide proper training, based on materials and plans approved by the Monitor, to all current and new personnel (the "Remedial Training") on the following matters:

1. the appropriate chain of command in criminal investigations;

2. the issuance of public statements relating to an open investigation;

3. the conduct of eyewitness identification procedures;

4. the service of outstanding warrants on witnesses in a criminal investigation or proceeding;

5. prohibiting threats, inducements, or intimidation of witnesses;

6. the standards for police reports, investigator's notes, and other reports of investigations, including the timely and truthful preparation of such documents;

7. the supervision of private companies engaged to provide scientific testing or other services in connection with a police investigation; and

8. the standards for probable cause;

viii. enjoins the Durham Police Department from issuing any press releases, written statements, posters, flyers, or other materials intended for publication relating to a Durham Police investigation, whether directly or indirectly through an entity in which Durham Police personnel participate (such as Crimestoppers), without first obtaining the approval of the Monitor;

ix. enjoins the Durham Police Department from making any oral public statements relating to a Durham Police investigation, whether directly or indirectly through an entity in which Durham Police personnel participate (such as Crimestoppers), without first obtaining the approval of the Monitor as to the substance of the statement;

x. enjoins the Durham Police Department from serving any arrest warrants on a person known to be a witness in a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding without first obtaining the approval of the Monitor;

xi. enjoins the Durham Police Department from delegating any supervision over a Durham Police investigation to the District Attorney's Office;

xii. orders the Durham Police Department to implement a policy requiring Durham Police personnel to present exculpatory evidence when testifying before a grand jury.

xiii. enjoins the Durham Police Department from targeting students of Duke University for selective enforcement of the criminal laws, and from refusing to protect the legal and constitutional rights of students of Duke University;

xiv. requires the City of Durham to pay all costs relating to the Monitor, Police Review Committee, and Remedial Training for the duration of the Permanent Injunction; and

xv. enjoins DSI and Meehan from providing any reports of DNA or other scientific testing, or providing any expert testimony, in any court proceeding, whether civil or criminal, for a period of ten (10) years;

b. damages in an amount to be established at trial as compensation for constitutional deprivations; past and future economic loss, physical harm, emotional trauma, loss of privacy, and loss of reputation; loss of education; and expenses associated with defending against the criminal proceedings initiated and sustained by Defendants' unlawful conduct;

c. damages in an amount to be established at trial to punish Defendants for outrageous conduct pursued out of actual malice that recklessly and callously disregarded and was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiffs' constitutional rights, to discourage them from engaging in similar conduct in the future, and to deter others similarly situated from engaging in similar misconduct;

d. an award of attorneys' fees, including attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. S 1988(b);

e. an award for reasonable and customary costs, expenses, and interest incurred in pursuit of this action; and

f. whatever additional relief the Court may deem proper.

It is about time. Although Nifong himself has paid the price for his illegal actions, the equally illegal actions engagted in by a number of members of the Durham Police Department (Mark Gottfried, David Addison, Ben Himan) and the apparent lack of supervision provided by their superiors completely justifies this suit in my opinion. Although Himan appears to have done his best to act honorably and professionally since the case fell apart (he was the only member of the trio to rpovide honest testimony to the State Bar), it is my opionion that ogttlieb and Addison should see their careers come to the crashing halt with extreme prejudice. One simply does not knowlingly make dishonest statements as Addison did, or actively work to push forward a case that quite simply should never have been brought as Gottlieb did, without suffering the consequences. in addtion, in Gottleib's case we know that he has a prejudice againsty Duke students and has shown himself to be at best incompetent in the course of the case.

As for the City of Durham, at no point did any city official step forward to taek steps to ensure that the students;' rightw were being protected. And everyone, from the mayor on down, seems to have looked the other way while Nifong went ahead with his frame-up. Certainly Police Cheif Chalmers should answeer for his lack of leadership in the Police Department, and the City Manager, who helped produce the discredidted report on the case should also be terminated forthwith.

However, my main feeling is one of relief. These boys faced horrendous terrors virtually aloner for the better part of a year. Now it is time for real justice to be served. Durhan cou.d have avoided this by following its own processes. Since it failed so miserably, it is time for the City's spineless leadership to pay the penalty for their actions. Justice may be slow in coming, but I feel that at lazst justice will be served. Hat tip to John in Carolina.

On a different note, today marks Professor KC Johnson's last daily post at his superb Durham-in-Wonderland blog. Professor Johnson has been stalwart in his reporting throughout this case and bears much of the credit for the revealing of the nefarious antics of Nifong, Gottlieb, and others. A hearty thank you to Professor Johnson. His reporting and his insights will be sorely missed as the civil rights case proceeds.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Creeping Sharia In Chicago

Sharia claims yet another victim- a Muslim mother has managed to get Ramadan added to the calendar of holidays at the Oak Lawn school disctrict in Chicago.

However, the local media outlet, CBS Channel 2, downplayed the significance, by claiming that not much has changed- "School Keeps Christmas, Hallowe'en; Adds Ramadan". Since when do American schools celebrate non-Christian holidays? I had many Jewish friends, who never celebrated Hanukkah or Passover at school. We did not get holidays for their religious holidays, though some school disctircts did give the Jewish children days off during their most holy celebrations. Why are we allowing Muslims to suddenly add Ramadan to the school calendar?

It seems that most of the school district's residents took a common-sense approach. As CBS 2 reported,
Elizabeth Zahdan was at the center of the storm, a Muslim mother of three who requested that her children be separated from others at lunch during the Ramadan fast.

The schools agreed, but at the Tuesday board meeting, many parents didn't.

"I don’t ever remember one of us asking for our child to be separated from classmates during Ash Wednesday when they were fasting, or on every Friday of Lent when our children are not allowed to eat meat," said parent Cathy Hughes.

"If Muslims want the school holidays, menus and school traditions to become tailored to their needs or beliefs, then they should go to private school next to their mosque," said resident Brian Shapiro.

"That does not represent all the Muslims, all of the Arabs at that school," said Qais Nofel, the father of a student in Ridgeland School District 122.

There may be hope for America if residents are willing to stand up to the spineless bureaucrats who want so badly to be politically correct. (For a discussion of the pernicious nature of political correctness, please see Professor William Anderson's remarks on the subject). However, the deeper concern is when Americans will recognize that Muslims are not by nature satisfied with being equal- they want to be dominant and everyone else to be in a subordinate position. Their religion demands it, and many Muslims, especially Black Muslims, see an opportunity to use the new accepted 'victimhood' of Islam to gain a position of even more entitlement.

The United States by definition is designed to downplay religious conflict, as the State cannot advance one religion over another, according ot the Constitution. But although the ACLU will never recognize it, their efforts to advance Islam (publis-financing of foot-baths at public colleges, publicly-financed mosques, etc) and the constant attacks on Christianity are doing precisely that. The United States, like it or not, is built on Christian foundations, not Muslim, not Jewish, not Buddhist. We are remarkably tolerant, as most other religions who live here among us can testify. But Islam is not like other religions. And unfortunately, many Muslims are determined to use our insititutions against us to institute creeping sharia of the type that this Elizabeth Zahdan is attempting. It may be adding Ramadan to a school holiday calendar today. But what comes tomorrow? The only thing we can be sure of is that there will be other demands, until we find ourselves living under Islamic shaira. For that is many Muslims' ultimate goal. And only constant vigilance will prevent them from succeeding- our elected leaders certainly have not the courage to stand up for our culture and our civilization.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

CNN: OK To Fly Mexican Flag Over US Flag

A Mexican bar owner in Reno Nevada flew the Mexican flag above that of the United States. Only problem is that this is specifically illegal under United States Code Section 7, Title Four, which states,
(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the
same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of
America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains
at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during
church services for the personnel of the Navy. No person shall
display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or
international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior
prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United
States at any place within the United States or any Territory or
possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall
make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed
of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of
superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions
of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United
States at the headquarters of the United Nations.

The brazen effrontery of the bar prompted an American veteran to cut down both flags. But when CNN reported on the event, they managed to significantly skew the perception. The CNN report simply states that the veteran was angry that the Mexican flag was placed above that of the US- no mention was made that it was in fact illegal under US law. CNN compounded their offense by showing in their video clip, not the actual words of the relevant US code that outlaws this action, but instead 'flag rules' taken from, thus downplaying the actual offense, by suggesting that athe law is in fact merely recommended behavior.

As in so much relating to the illegal alien lobby, apprently it is OK with CNN for immigrants to disrespect and/or disobey the laws of our country, but let one American try to react, and they scream bloody murder. Balance? What balance? Cross-posted on NewsBusters.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

On Political Correctness

Political Correctness has become the major problem facing free speech. PC requires that we respect all listeners' opinions, so that we do not offend anyone. Of course, the effect that this dictat has on free speech is truly chilling, as speech that offends, especially speech that offends the privileged victim groups is stifled.

Economics Professor William Anderson of Frostburg State University in Maryland has written a powerful condemnation of the forces of political correctness in the context of his review of Professor KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor's book 'Until Proven Innocent', the damning tale of the Duke Lacrosse Hoax, wherein a rogue prosecutor, a lying accuser, several Durham Police Department officers, 88 Duke professors, most of the Duke University Administration and the majority of the local and national media attempted to frame three innocent students for a crime that never occurred.

Professor Anderson believes that for many of the people who worked so hard to convict the three innocent students were motivated by political correctness, which emphasizes a True Path, whether or not the facts fit. As he writes,
Face it, those who did the most to spread the lies really did not care whether or not three Duke lacrosse players raped Crystal Gail Mangum in the bathroom of the house at 610 Buchanan Boulevard. As Newsweek’s Evan Thomas put it, "The narrative was correct, but the facts were wrong."

Professor Anderson has been kind enough to allow me to quote his remarks in full on political correctness and how it influenced the Duke Case. His comments are as follows:
Johnson and Taylor are political liberals, and people who tend to believe in reform. They are rightly shocked by the lies of the police and prosecutors, the dishonesty of Duke’s administration, the rush-to-judgment coverage of the mainstream media, and the indecent and pathetic performance of a large portion of Duke’s radical faculty. However, as liberals, they tend to believe that such actions can be corrected or at least diverted through political and legal reform. In other words, while they observed at ground level an incredible amount of cynicism, they themselves still tend to keep their reformist nature.

However, I see what happened as something fundamental in modern higher education and the law. Political Correctness is not simply something dreamed up by "liberal wackos" (as Taylor likes to call them), but rather is something that has permeated all of higher education, law, and politics. The modern PC regime is fundamentally opposed to a classical liberal way of life. It is hostile to free exchange in a marketplace, free speech and free exchange of ideas, and everything in Western law that has developed since the Middle Ages.

Indeed, it is totalitarian in nature, and it cannot co-exist with a legal and social order that is Liberal in nature. It makes all of life subject to political thinking, and political thinking based upon raw power. We saw all of that on tap in this prosecution. There was no evidence, only accusations that came from a drug-addicted, mentally-ill prostitute who constantly changed the fundamental nature of her stories, and who could offer nothing in evidence except her ever-changing words. There was nothing believable about what Crystal Gail Mangum told the police, yet the original lies ultimately metastasized into what was known as the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.

That did not happen simply because police and prosecutors chose to lie. It happened because Political Correctness does not demand truth. Indeed, PC thought is the antithesis of truth, and the PC True Believer will tell anyone who will listen that truth is what one creates in order to achieve political outcomes. Face it, those who did the most to spread the lies really did not care whether or not three Duke lacrosse players raped Crystal Gail Mangum in the bathroom of the house at 610 Buchanan Boulevard. As Newsweek’s Evan Thomas put it, "The narrative was correct, but the facts were wrong." Indeed, that is a most cynical statement, and since Thomas was one of those journalists who worked overtime to tell the world that Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans were three vicious rapists, his words tell more than even he would understand.

The Duke Lacrosse Case was a front on yet another battlefield in a war between a liberal order that emphasizes the rights and responsibilities of the individual and recognizes that the state is an entity that must be both feared and controlled and an order in which the overpowering state is everything, and that political power is something to be worshipped and sought after. In this battle, the "good guys" won, but only because some well-placed and influential people recognized that the thing called "truth" really does matter. It was and is a satisfying victory, but it is only one small victory against some very, very dark forces.

And this is unfortunately too true. P.C. is a pernicious system, one that muzzles the light of honest debate by pretending that feelings (especially those of certain designated victim groups) are more important than reaching truth. Truth can indeed hurt, but only free debate and the acknowledgment of truth can ultimates free us from the effects of political correctness.

Hat tip to John in Carolina and my gratitude to Professor Anderson for allowing me to re-post his remarks in their entirety.

Light Posting This Week

I am under the weather this week, so posting will be fairly light.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Politico Thinks Defamation OK For Congresspeople

The Politico apparently thinks that Congresspeople should be allowed to defame members of the US military. After Representative Jack Murtha (D-Pa.) was ordered to testify in Marine Sergeant Frank Wuterich's defamation case against him, The Politico opined that,
Frankly, I don't understand this ruling at all, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is appealed by the Justice Dept. and/or House general counsel's office on behalf of Murtha. Murtha, who can say some inappropriate things once in a while, was clearly acting in his capacity as a lawmaker when he made the comments and is thus protected by the Speech or Debate Clause from any type of prosecution for official acts.

I think the Politico understands, they simply do not wish to allow any limits on the garbage that Congresspeople can spew. Murtha's comments were, so far as I am aware, based on no documents whatsoever, and no matter whether he was speaking as a public or as a private person were despicable and should be punishable. I think the judge was absolutely correct in this case, especially since the investigating officer in the case has recommended the dismissal of charges against Wuterich and most of the other Marines involved in the case. If Murtha did indeed possess infomration that led him to make thsoe charges, then that is a different story. However, this country still believes in innocent until proven guilty. Wuterich and the other Haditha Marines have not been found guilty, and indeed, most of them have already been either cleared or charges have been recomended to be dropped. It is time for Murtha to answer for his defamatory attacks on these men who are far better men than Congressman Murtha.