Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Media At War

Rand Simberg at the blog Transterrestrial Musings wrote a wonderful depiction of the Mainstream Media's efforts so far in the war against Muslim aggression in which we are currently engaged. Although this was originally written back in December of 2001, I feel that it is as relevant in February of 2007 as it was when it was first penned. A sample of Mr. Simberg's wit is as follows:

One older reporter is a grizzled veteran of the successful Tet Offensive, in which a US victory on the ground had been successfully converted into an ignominious setback in the papers and television news, with little organized resistance.

"When we arrived at the front, everything was going our way, just as we expected. The US Air Force had been pounding the Taliban for weeks, with no obvious effect. We thought that the battlefield was prepared for a major propaganda advance. But just as we started to move out seriously, with fusillades of stories about Vietnam analogies, and the futility of just chasing down terrorists without addressing why the world hates us, the Taliban and Al Qaeda started to collapse without warning. We came under fire ourselves. Huge shellbursts of cruel reality and vicious satire were exploding all around us, and dangerous facts were whizzing just past our ears, sometimes right in one and out the other..."

Read the whole thing. Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

iPhone Peace

Well, it seems that Apple, Inc. and Cisco Systems, Inc. have come to their senses. I must confess, however, that the news that the two San Francisco Bay Area technology heavyweights have agreed to jointly use the name 'iPhone' is hardly unexpected. I have been expecting some such agreement since Apple's intial announcement of the iPhone at the MacWorld 2007 conference in January.

While I am not a lawyer, it would seem to me that the fact that the two companies are marketing entirely different markets and that neither is infringing on the other's core business would make it difficult for Cisco to win, though Apple's case is just as shaky, considering that Cisco does have a prior claim.

In either case, now both companies can focus on their respective product lines without engaging in a lengthy and expensive lawsuit which would ultimately serve only to line the pockets of the lawyers.

More Journalistic Malfeasance

The forged George Bush memos, which Dan Rather and Mary Mapes attempted to sell the United States are the latest examples of reporters pushing their version of truth as opposed to the real thing. The Hurricane Katrina 'reporting' and the lies of Jayson Blair are also good examples of the current disinclination of the mainstream media to report fairly and truthfully. However, it appears that there is a strain of dishonesty that predates anything Blair, Rather and Mapes perpetrated..

One of journalism's highest awards is named after former CBS reporter George W. Polk. Polk was a reporter who served as a US Naval officer in World War II, and later worked for CBS. He was murdered during the Greek Civil War in the late 1940s. The award named for him is for reporters who uncover stories regarding scandal and deceit, according to the Polk award's website.

Polk was a brave officer. According to a recent study published by historian Richard B. Frank, Polk was in charge of an aircraft repair facility at Henderson Field on the island of Guadalcanal. As such, he was in one of the most dangerous posts possible in 1942- one out of every thirty men who served on Guadalcanal were killed.

However after the war, Polk represented himself as a decorated Naval pilot- something that simply isn't true, according to Mr. Franks. He deliberately lied, wore uniform accoutrements he had no right to, and forged documents to support his falsehoods. In addition, Mr. Franks says,

Judging from the correspondence and tributes included in his personal papers, deposited at New York University Library, Polk's glorious war record helped him get--and keep--his reporter's job at CBS.

As Mr. franks suggests, this raises some serious questions about Polk's reporting. If someone is willing to lie about their personal experiences for personal gain, which it appears Polk did, how can that individual's subsequent reports be accepted without some basic skepticism? And what about the institutions that were deceived? Not a single mainstream news organization has evidenced any interest in this story, though they are only too willing to reprint discredited stories about President Bush even now.

I agree with Mr. Franks, who concludes by saying, "Journalism that exposes "myriad forms of scandal and deceit" deserves to be honored. So do reporters who take risks seeking the truth. But to honor them in the name of George Polk is a travesty."

I agree. The sooner the rest of the media acknowledges this, the better. However, we are still waiting for the New York Times to acknowledge the lies propagated by their Pulitzer Prize winning Stalinist propagandist Walter Duranty. Nor has CBS acknowledged the pernicious and illegal lies that Rather and Mapes attempted to use to throw the 2004 Presidential election to John Kerry. SO I guess we won't hold our breath for this latest proof of mainstream media malfeasance. We can only say to those who still read or view these biased and untruthful 'newspeople' that the old term caveat emptor- buyer beware, applies even more now than ever.

On (Illegal) Immigration...

...the New York University College Republicans have a novel idea- have the Border Patrol find the illegal alien! It appears that the group is staging a hunt on campus today in which several students wearing 'Border Patrol' nametags will try to find a student wearing a similar 'illegal alien' tag. the College Republicans say that this is to promote dialog about illegal immigration. This seems like a wonderful idea.

Too often we forget that illegal aliens are exactly that- illegal. These people have so little respect for American laws and culture that they break the law to come here and then demand rights above sand beyond those available to immigrants who actually adhere to the legal process- however flawed that process may be. In addition, we forget that citizenship is not a right- it should be earned by those who come here.

And the fact is that the Border Patrol needs our attention and our help. The politicians in Washington and most other government houses have no connection to the vast majority of Americans who want a stop to the indiscriminate amnesty that both parties are offering to these undesirables. But the only way to stop this invasion of illegal aliens is to bring more attention to it and convince these feckless and cowardly politicians that America is tired of these thugs from outside our borders.

Let's fix the process for legal immigration, so that we can eliminate the rudeness, arbitrariness, and pettiness that the Department of Homeland Security (formerly the INS) displays to both citizens and legal immigrants. Let's not focus on a bunch of illegal aliens who are- well, illegal.

To this end, the College Republicans are to be congratulated for bringing this issue to our attention, since the media (and most politicians) are seemingly incapable of differentiating between legal and illegal immigration. Perhaps this will, as the College Republicans hope, promote a clearer dialog about how to deal with this threat to our country.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Posting will be light today, but I wanted to take this opportunity to send a Valentines to the following:

Mrs. Gankomon for everything

Several conservative blogs have sent Valentines to their favorite leaders of the past/present. For me, I would like to follow Captain Ed Morrissey's example, and send a Valentine to Ronald Reagan, for his leadership and for making conservative thought a valid philosophy. No leader since has approached his stature. I only hope that the Republican leadership takes note of his example and that the party itself return to its Reaganite roots before it is too late.

Hope your Valentine's Day is a safe and happy one!

Democratic Arrogance

One would think that Democrats and leftists, whose mantra is that everything is a right, would respect the rights of others as well. However, a failing of the Left shared by many Democrats in Congress, is to only allow themselves rights and to attempt to take away others' rights and privileges.

The latest example of this is provided by freshman Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota. Though Mr. Ellison insited that he be allowed to take the oath of office on the Koran (this despite the US being a country where the Koran has no official weight whatsoever), he apparently will not extend the same courtesy to his peers.

Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado enjoys smoking the occasional cigar in his office, and he is allowed to do so under Congressional rules. However, Mr. Ellison (whose office neighbors that of Mr. Tancredo) apparently feels that his rights take precedence over those of Mr. Tancredo, and called the Capitol Police, despite being told that Mr. Tancredo is not breaking any rules or laws.

One would hope that Mr. Ellison would be aware that his rights end where another person's begin. If he expects to have a career in US politics, he had better learn this, or he will himself fall afoul of the law at some point. And on a wider point, if Democrats can't respect the rights of others in small areas such as this, do we really want this party to lead our nation in governance?

Monday, February 12, 2007

John Burns, New York Times

There are some individuals who do live up to the very best ideals of the journalistic profession. Such individuals are unfortunately rare (especially among the so-called Mainstream Media), but John Burns, Baghdad Bureau Chief for the New York Times is one of them.

Almost alone among his peers, Mr. Burns has kept his eyes open as to the reality of Iraq and he has managed to avoid falling under he terrorist spell that so many other reporters in the area have succumbed to. He appreciates he heroism displayed by our troops despite the obstacles and even understands who the heroes and who the villains are in our current conflict.

For an example of Mr. Burns' experiences, please see his recent interview with Hugh Hewitt. And from all of us who long for fair, objective and honest reporting by the media, thank you Mr. Burns. Thank you.

More Inconvenience...

...about the global warming hysteria promoted by most so-called 'mainstream' journalists and more than a few headline-hunting politicians is contained with a recent study conducted by Dr. Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Center.

According to Dr. Svensmark, global heat is actually more dependent on cosmic rays and cloudiness than on 'human-caused' CO2 emissions. In the article, former New Scientist magazine editor Nigel Calder explains that,

He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

Now all of this may or may not be true. It certainly seems from the reported cooling of Antarctica, (which was predicted by Dr. Svensmark and his team in their report), that they may be on to something. But to me this is merely more reason to keep an open mind until the real scientific method (test until the data produces a defensible theory) and not the method preferred by Mr. Gore and most reporters (choose a theory and manipulate the data to fit)- has played out and the facts are really in. At this point, the idea of human-caused global warming is no more credible than the idea of a new ice age the very same media was pushing so relentlessly thirty years ago.

Too many reporters and politicians have made up their mind regarding something they have absolutely no expertise in. Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe wrote on February 9, 2007 that "Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future." This is ridiculous. Ms. Goodman, just what expertise do you have in this area? And what right have you to try to force your opinion - and it is only opinion- on those of us who have not yet made up our minds? Ms. Goodman is merely another in a long list of media blowhards who spout rhetoric before they think.

A politician who does understand is Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, who said in an interview on Monday February 12, 2007 that "Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor."

Mr. Klaus went on to say why so few politicians echo his views "Other top-level politicians do not express their global warming doubts because a whip of political correctness strangles their voice." He also spoke of former US Vice-President Al Gore when asked by the reporter (who comes off as both ignorant and agenda-driven,)"Don't you believe that we're ruining our planet?

President Klaus responded, "I will pretend that I haven't heard you. Perhaps only Mr Al Gore may be saying something along these lines: a sane person can't" However, it was his final answer that really showed his understanding and the lack of the same on the part of his interviewer. Continuing his answer to the reporter on whether humans are ruining the planet, he said:

I don't see any ruining of the planet, I have never seen it, and I don't think that a reasonable and serious person could say such a thing. Look: you represent the economic media so I expect a certain economical erudition from you. My book will answer these questions. For example, we know that there exists a huge correlation between the care we give to the environment on one side and the wealth and technological prowess on the other side. It's clear that the poorer the society is, the more brutally it behaves with respect to Nature, and vice versa.• It's also true that there exist social systems that are damaging Nature - by eliminating private ownership and similar things - much more than the freer societies. These tendencies become important in the long run. They unambiguously imply that today, on February 8th, 2007, Nature is protected uncomparably more than on February 8th ten years ago or fifty years ago or one hundred years ago.• That's why I ask: how can you pronounce the sentence you said? Perhaps if you're unconscious? Or did you mean it as a provocation only? And maybe I am just too naive and I allowed you to provoke me to give you all these answers, am I not? It is more likely that you actually believe what you say.

In conclusion, let us continue to look at the evidence produced by all teams. But the attempts to silence those who produce theories that do not fit the human-caused global warming scenario is frightening. And the ignorance and one-sidedness on the part of the national and international media is equally scary. Ultimately, it behooves all of us to get it right, whatever results are produced.

Friday, February 09, 2007

"Teachers"? Really?

In recent years, public (and some private) school teachers have been involved in activities that definitely fall outside their job description. Whether it be indoctrinating kids with multiculturalist garbage, engaging in illicit affairs with their underage charges, encouraging their illegal alien students to break the law, or simply using their unions to keep parents from being able to oversee what their children are "learning" teachers have been overstepping their bounds and mis-using their positions.

Now it appears that at least some teachers believe that somehow it is OK to flout the laws of the United States in front of their students. According to the WBEN 930AM radio station in Buffalo, New York, a substitute teacher was arrested for using what apparently was cocaine in front of her students.

Seems to me that this would be an excellent time to introduce the idea of charter schools, or maybe to revisit home-schooling. If we cannot trust teachers to behave when instructing our children, then maybe it is time to take control of the public school system ourselves.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

And More on Vista...

...with Apple's recent warning to iPod users that they should avoid Vista. According to the United Kingdom's Telegraph,
Apple, the long-standing rival of Bill Gates’s Microsoft, is urging users not to upgrade their PCs to the Vista system until it comes up with a compatible version of the software that runs iPods.

The article goes on to say that apparently Windows Vista can corrupt iPods, even if the user selects the "Eject Hardware Safely" option. And it also appears that Vista cannot play Apple's iTunes Store-purchased songs. In fact, the article says "Microsoft has already released a software update for Vista users so they can play their iTunes Store songs" Heh. Not even released a week and we already need a patch, Microsoft?

This is not good news for Microsoft. Vista has already been widely panned by a number of reviewers, and if iPods cannot be safely used with the new operating system, then Microsoft has a big problem. In conclusion, it seems the Microsoft, in their haste to release Vista, has once again released a not-ready-for-primetime product. They have long been infamous for releasing Beta-quality products and calling them final. The Vista operating system appears to be yet another example of this bad Microsoft habit.

Holocaust Silliness from Iran

It would appear that the world's greatest Holocaust denier is engaging in some semantic silliness. According to Breitbart News, Iran is calling on Europe to provide proof of the Holocaust perpetrated against European Jews by the Nazis during World War II. According to the report,
An Iranian government-sponsored body set up to probe the veracity of the Holocaust has challenged Europe to hand over documents about the mass slaughter of Jews in World War II. Mohammad Ali Ramin, the head of the "World Holocaust Foundation" created after Iran's controversial Holocaust conference last year, said Austria, Germany and Poland in particular should supply documents.

Proof? Sure. Dachau, Auschwitz, etc. Also, the records of the Nuremburg trials, the writings of Adolph Hitler regarding his intentions vis-a-vis the Jewish population of Europe. These are all easily accessible to the public, Mr. Ali Ramin. And I am sure Europe would be happy to help you out. Just as soon as your president supplies proof of his own, less credible claims that the Holocaust never happened. As previously mentioned, evidence is extant in Dachau, Auschwitz, and plenty of other places that is far more convincing than documents read by a group of international scalawags and in some cases, criminals (David Dukes???) at an Iranian Holocaust-denying conference.

Of course, we also wait for Muslim explanations of the support given Hitler's 'Final Solution" by the Grand Mufti Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini of Jerusalem. I'm sure that such eager studens of truth such as President Ahmadinejad and Mr. Ali Ramin would be happy to comply. Once that is satisfactorily explained, then I am sure that Europe would be happy to give Mr. Ramin and Mr. Ahmadinejad access to the sites and archives of the Holocaust.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Latte with a Twist

So they may have 'sex happening' clubs in Tokyo, but in Seattle, they have 'sexpresso shops'. Read the whole thing.

Fun And Games in Japan

While at the Super Bowl party, one of my friends happened to ask me if I had heard about this next topic. Since this was entirely unknown to me, I did a little research this morning, and the results are as follows:

Apparently in Japan, there is a fairly new phenomenon called 'sex happening' clubs. The well-known US fetish queen Midori recently went to investigate Tokyo's fetish scene, and regarding these clubs, she reports:
...what the Japanese have are private, membership based sex clubs called "happening bars." These are similar to swingers clubs. I went to a couple of them and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, good facilities with serious sex furniture and friendly staff. Since so many homes and apartments in Japan are tiny, and not necessarily soundproof, these clubs provide couples with a comfortable play space away from home. Unlike a swingers club, I felt no expectations for people to engage sexually with others, but opportunities were available for those who desired it. Some of the staff would do demos or casual lessons for the members. Peer-to-peer instructions happened a great deal as well.

As I said, this is news to me. When I lived in Japan, there were the ubiquitous love hotels for private encounters, and hostess (as well as host) bars for drinking/socializing. However, I am not entirely surprised. If anyone has more info on these so-called sex-happening places, please feel free to comment.

A VERY Inconvenient Truth...

...is contained in the essay Global Warming: The Cold Hard Facts? by Professor Timothy Ball, PhD, regarding the hype of global warming. Read the whole thing. For more, I recommend MIT professor Dr. Richard Lindzen's writings on the subject. Global Warming may itself be true, but politicians and reporters are not experts, and too many scientists are rushing for press accolades to stop to actually look at the data.

Amateur Ads at the Super Bowl

Watching the Super Bowl 'just for the advertisements' has become somewhat of a tradition, and most companies traditionally use this to launch theior newest and greatest ad creation. Who, after all, can forget the classic 1984 Ridley Scott-directed ad introducing the Macintosh? This year introduced a new twist on the phenomenon- amateur-created advertisements. Several companies, from Frito-Lay (Doritos), to General Motors (Chevrolet), launched advertisements produced by non-professional advertisement makers. After watching the entire Super Bowl, in the main I thought the amateur ads stacked up pretty well against the professionals.

However, at least one member of the scribbling class was not happy about amateurs invading the professionals' turf. Writing for CBS News, Andrew Keen whined,
This is not good news. The shift from professionally produced to user-generated advertising makes us poorer in both economic and cultural terms. The arrival of user-created commercials at Super Bowl XLI represents the American Idolization of traditional entertainment — the degeneration of professional content into a "talent show" for amateurs.

Gee, Mr. Keen, are you afraid that people who are talented in more than just their own professions might push untalented hacks like yourself into actually having to do a real job? To me, this is suspiciously like the argument that 'if you didn't go to journalism school, you can't be a journalist, or, going back a few years, 'if you are not a member of the [insert union name here], you can't do [insert profession name here]. This argument is valid only in professions whose members need a professional certification. Engineering, law, medicine and other such vocations are professions where understandably, amateur practicioners are not and should not be welcome.

However, in the area of creative content creation, such as advertisement cration, music, journalism, opinion writing, creative writing, etc, there should be no bar. I am a professional musician, and have been for over twenty years. However, I know some supremely talented amateur musicians. A department chairman at a prestigious university, for example, is a talented jazz trumpet player. Just because he does it mainly for fun, should he not be allowed to entertain people with his talent? None of the Beatles went to music school. Should they have been denied permission to entertain? Additionally, what about people such as the Monty Python team? They graduated in professions that contained no relation to comedy or to acting, yet they have made some wonderful creations over the years. Should they too be denied permission because they did not attend acting school? Taking this argument (if such inanity can even be dignified buy that name), Keen writes:
Why is the work of the amateur of a lesser quality than professionally made content? There's the intrinsic talent of a lifelong professional, such as Ridley Scott, of course. Then there's the financial resources made available to the professional content creator. Back in 1984, Apple paid Chiat/Day $1.6 million to produce their Mac ad. Today, according to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the average professionally-produced 30-second spot costs $381,000. In contrast, wedding photographer Jarod Cicon, one of the five finalists in the Doritos competition, estimates that his 30-second ad cost $150 to produce.

This argument is easily dispatched. The "Intrinsic talen of a lifelong professional"??? Many famous writers, both past and present, were entirely self-trained. Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of 'Tarzan', wrote his first novel without any previous experience in writing of any kind. Robert Louis Stevenson was a student of engineering at Edinburgh Universioty. Should that lack have disqualified these two from writing, Mr. Keen? Much of the best commentary in current events comes from bloggers such as Glenn Reynolds. These are not professional journalists. Should they be disqualified from writing just because they did not graduate from Columbia School of Journalism?

As far as cost, reporters routinely rage against how much something costs (like gasoline), or how much a corporate executive gets paid (though these arguments somehow get forgotten when it is members of their own set who reap ridiculous sums of money- for example a Tom Cruise or a Katie Couric). If amateurs can make an advertisement for less, then by all means they should be so allowed. Or is Mr. Keen worried that if costs drop, the companies will be able to save more instead of fattening the coffers of companies like- CBS! In my opinion, competition is good for everyone.

To conclude, this entire argument simply does not hold water. Instead, it is a prime reason why creative content creation must not be limited to members of the 'elite media club'. Many reporters lack both knowledge and the ability to turn a coldly objetive eye to their subject, and essays such as Keen's show why journalism is not considered a demanding disipline- or even a real disipline at all, in this writer's opinion. Logic, research, and objectiviy too often seem to take a back seat to 'feelings', agenda and protecting privilege- the very things so many of them accuse accuse others of doing.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Vista Thoughts Redux

As a long-time fan of Apple's Macintosh as well as the various flavors of UNIX and Linux that are currently available, I freely confess that I am not a Microsoft fan.

I have become accustomed to using Windows XP at work, and I do have some fond memories of Windows 2000 (in my humble opinion, that was the best operating system Microsoft ever released), but I have long been suspect about the upcoming Vista. I used Longhorn throughout its various permutation as part of my job, and when they repackaged it as Vista, have been forced to test it. However, my impressions have not been positive. (For another reviewer's comments on the security underlying Vista, please see my post About that new Microsoft OS...).

Now, it appears that I am not alone. In a number of reviews, technology reporters share my lack of positivity regarding this new Microsoft OS. Some of the comments have been as follows:
Ironically, playing around with Vista for more than a month has done what years of experience and exhortations from Mac-loving friends could not: it has converted me into a Mac fan.
-Erika Jonietz, Technology Review

It's also going to have this spiffy new file system called WinFS (Windows File System)… oh wait, that was canned last year. At least Linux doesn't have a new file system either. Well, except for Reiser4, and so what if it may be the fastest desktop file system ever.
-Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols, eWeek.com

Nor is Vista bug-free. As I assessed final code, I ran into a variety of small but annoying glitches and found plenty of features that didn't work as seamlessly as I would have liked. I can't shake the feeling that Vista's release was rushed. So what's our verdict? Vista is good—in some respects very good—but not spectacular. Call it a nice-to-have product rather than a must-have.
-John Clyman, PCMag.com

So while there are plenty of folks out there who I am sure will rush (foolishly) to upgrade to this new release, it appears that once again Microsoft has missed the boat, releasing what is essentially beta-ware and claiming it to be final.

Muslim Hyperbole

In the wake of the arrests in Birmingham last week, one would expect both Muslims and non-Muslim Britons to understand that planning to kidnap and execute a British soldier is neither legal nor is it very compatible with the ideal of differing cultures/religions living together in harmony. At the very least, one woul expect Muslims to thank the British police for their timely arrests.

But it appears instead that Muslims prefer to engage in rhetoric. According to Breitbart News, one of Briton's leading Muslims has declared Briton to be comparable to Nazi Germany. The Muslim leader in qustion is a man named Mohammed Naseem, and according to the report,
"The country is moving toward a police state. That's not right. We have to change this," he said inside the mosque, where some 2,000 Muslims gathered for weekly Friday prayers.

Actually, Mr. Naseem, what isn't right is Muslims planning to kidnap and execute a British soldier in their adopted country. If you and your followers tried harder to fit into what is a majority Christian country, and refrained from the hateful and anti-Western rhetoric such as this statement, then perhaps the police wouldn't need to arrest your ignorant and violent followers. Perhaps you might even consider that these arrestees, if the charges prove to be true, were breaking the law in virtually every respect.

You might even consider that if you don't like living under Western laws, you are welcome to return to your countries of origin. Of course, you wouldn't have the luxury of publicly condemning your government there. After all, there is not a single Muslim-majority country that grants Christians the kind of freedom that Muslims enjoy in all Western countries. Chirstians, and non-Muslims are treated as criminals in most Muslim countries, or at best tolerated for the skills they bring.

Muslims are welcome in the West, but they must learn that they have no right to require their host countries to change according to Muslim wishes. Rather it is the responsibility of Muslims - and other immigrants - to change to fit into their adopted countries. If the West were firmer about requiring asimilation, and more robust in defending their justifiable proud culture, then perhaps we would not have these problems. Just a thought...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Democratic Perks

When they were campaigning, Democrats frequently accused Republicans of mis-using their powers and of excessive privilege. Insults flew, and a campaign of cleaning up the misuses was on every reporter's lips. However, it appears that Democrats are not averse to using public money for personal advantage either. Nor are they content with normal perks.

According to the Washington Times newspaper, new Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is attempting to commandeer military aircraft for herself, her family and her friends pretty much anytime for any reason. The newspaper writes,
The office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pressing the Bush administration for routine access to military aircraft for domestic flights, such as trips back to her San Francisco district, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
The sources, who include those in Congress and in the administration, said thethe Democrat is seeking regular military flights not only for herself and her staff, but also for relatives and for other members of the California delegation. A knowledgeable source called the request "carte blanche for an aircraft any time."

This seems more than a bit excessive. As the article points out, military aircraft for members of Congress are traditionally only provided for trips to military bases or for overseas junkets= not for personal trips. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert used the military planes for trips to his district following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but even he did not go as far as Pelosi's demands. The Bush Administration should squash Madam Speaker's attempts to gain access to these planes, and Pelosi should be ashamed of herself for this brazen demand.