Friday, November 30, 2007

More Press Hubris?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More Thoughts on Vista

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Celebrity Sense

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Who's Elitist Now?

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hillary's Donors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 16, 2007

NY Times Complains About US Control Of Internet

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

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

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

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

Supporters of the current system denounced the Russian proposal.

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

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

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

Virginia Store Calls Whites 'Gringos', Media Yawns

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 12, 2007

Racial Epithet- Media Doesn't Include Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NY Times: Soviet Spy is a Hero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bobby Calvan: Arrogant Idiot

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hat tips to Michelle Malkin and Glenn Reynolds.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Remembering Torch

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

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

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

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

Symbol of Hope In Baghdad

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

St. John's Cross in Baghdad

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More DHS Incompetence

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hillary's Thesis

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

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

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

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

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

Bono Gets It

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 05, 2007

Truth From the Mouths of...

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

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

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

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

I know you're tired. Deal with it.

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 02, 2007

English Teachers Beware

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Bias Revealed Again- Will Media Report It?

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

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

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

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

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

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