Saturday, August 06, 2005

To Al Franken: Invite Michelle Malkin on

(Welcome visitors from Michelle Maklin and Mudville Gazette. - John)

I just sent the following e-mail to Al Franken. What do you think he'll say?

Dear Mr. Franken:

You’re understandably uncomfortable talking on your show about the Air America scandal.

Who wouldn’t be if New York City’s Department of Investigation and New York State’s Attorney General were looking into how their employer spent on himself and his network hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for needy children and Alzheimer victims?

What’s more, I’m sure attorneys have told you that at some point you may be called to testify in a criminal investigation. So besides being uncomfortable, you must be extraordinarily circumspect.

Yet Air America listeners deserve to know the facts.

What to do? How about inviting Michelle Malkin on your show? Let her give listeners a summery of what’s happened and then take questions. You wouldn’t have to get into “sticky stuff” yourself; you could just facilitate.

Malkin would be a great choice. She’s followed the scandal since day one; and posted on it often. She’ll be able to state the facts, provide informed commentary, and answer listeners’ questions.

How about it?



Friday, August 05, 2005

Millions approve what The Times did

(Update: satires the NY Times' efforts to get into the Roberts' children's adoption records. Take a look at it here along with the post bolow.)

Michelle Malkin has an excellent post regarding The New York Times' efforts to get into the sealed adoption records of Judge John Roberts and his wife Jane's children. Her post includes letters rightly critical of The Times but none supporting it.

While they may be silent now, we can be sure millions approve what The Times did. We'll hear from them soon.

I bet we can agree they'll turn out to be people:

who said it was a private matter when President Clinton had oral sex with a young intern in the Oval Office while he talked on the phone with a California congressman about troop deployment;

who join liberal interest groups like People for the American Way and NARAL because they "care passionately" about their "right to privacy;"

who still think Fahrenheit 9/11 was a documentary;

who oppose airport and subway baggage searches;

who had no problem with Dan Rather and CBS's use of forged documents;

who are just fine with The Times' "fake but accurate" standard when President Bush or anyone else they oppose is concerned, but who would never accept "fake but accurate" if used by police and DAs to convict a career criminal who murdered a store clerk;

who love the ACLU because of "it's defense of due process," but want Carl Rove fired and his security clearance lifted immediately;

and who say, "What liberal media bias? Conservative are just making that up."

In short, the usual collection from "the Democratic wing of the Democratic party,", the far Left, the Academy, and MSM.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Mark Steyn on Britain and what it must do

Mark Steyn is the kind of pundit I like. He speaks clearly and always leaves me thinking. Here he is in London Daily Telegraph yesterday saying things the ruling Establishment would just as soon leave unsaid:

It's not black (the bomber) and white (the rest of us); there's a lot of murky shades of grey in between: the terrorist bent on devastation and destruction prowls the streets, while around him are a significant number of people urging him on, and around them a larger group of cocksure young men gleefully celebrating mass murder, and around them a much larger group of people who stand silent at the acts committed in their name, and around them a mesh of religious and community leaders openly inciting mayhem, and around them a savvy network of professional identity-group grievance-mongers adamant that they're the real victims, and around them a vast mass of progressive elites too squeamish about ethno-cultural matters to confront reality, and around them a political establishment desperate to pretend this is just a managerial problem that can be finessed away with a new bureaucracy and a bit of community outreach.

And at the end of this chain of shades of grey is you. And, be honest, were you surprised at any of the developments of the past four weeks? Was it really shocking to you that young men born and bred in the United Kingdom are willing to take bombs on to the Tube and buses? Were you stunned that cells of Islamic terrorists from countries with which Britain has very few traditional or historical ties are living at taxpayers' expense in London council flats? Were you knocked for six to discover that bookstores in Leeds sell video games where Muslim men can play at slaughtering infidels? Were you flabbergasted to hear Birmingham's senior and famously "moderate" Islamic cleric, invited along by the West Midlands Police to their press conference, argue that the men named as responsible for the attacks were merely innocent commuters?

Not only has Britain been tolerent of terrorists and terror enablers in its midst, Steyn feels it's all but encouraged them to settle there.

In 2001, after a Dutch crackdown on benefit fraud, 10,000 Somalis moved from Holland to one East Midlands town - Leicester. Why wouldn't a Somali jihadist fancy his chances in such a country?

Steyn makes clear that defeating terrorism in Britain will require Prime Minister Blair to lead the country in a new direction. Failing to do so will lead to catastrophe.

Tony Blair talks a good talk, explaining the rationale for war far better than President Bush. But he now needs not just to talk but to act. In France, the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has just expelled another dozen Islamists. By contrast, Mr Blair seems paralysed. In the weeks after 9/11, Mr Bush rethought 40 years of US policy in the Middle East. The Prime Minister has a more difficult task: he has to rethink 40 years of British policy in Leicester and Bradford and Leeds and Birmingham.

He has to regain control of Britain's borders from the EU and of Britain's education system from the teachers' unions and of Britain's welfare programmes from wily Somalis and others. In 20 years' time, no one will remember whether Tony Blair abolished the House of Lords or foxhunting: that's poseur stuff. They'll judge him on whether or not he funked the central challenge of the times. If "the images of ruin and destruction" come to pass, it will not be because of the bombers but because of a state that lacked the cultural confidence to challenge them. (Bold added)

Steyn's column is here. (Registration may be required.)

The Times won't say what's up at Air America

Michelle Malkin and Captain Ed at Captains Quarters are all over a pair of growing scandals.

One involves liberal network Air America's receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a New York non-profit. The money was supposes to benefit poor children and Alzheimer sufferers. The network can't say what happened to the money. Investigators are tracking the money trail. Al Franken is giving not very helpful interviews.

The second scandal is the refusal of major MSM news organizations to cover the Air America scandal. For instance, the New York Times has said nothing about the ongoing investigantion even as other New York papers - The Daily News, The Post and The Sun -have reported extensively on it. The Times' silence has many media types scratching their heads since in the past The Times has always been eager to trumpet Air America's activities. Malkin and Captain Ed are going to follow the scandals. Stay with them.

Meanwhile, if your not already familiar with the Air America scandal, here's part of an editorial from this morning's Washington Times which provides a good summery of what is known so far.

Here's what is known thus far. On Friday, Air America confirmed that last year it did in fact take money from a city-funded nonprofit that runs progams in the Bronx for children and Alzheimer's sufferers, and that it plans to pay the money back. It also revealed that it refuses to accept responsibility: First it blamed the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club, the nonprofit, calling the club's alleged behavior "absolutely disgraceful"; then it blamed Progress Media, a now-defunct Air America parent company, and said it had no obligation to pay the money back. But Air America announced it would pay the money back because it is "very disturbed that Air America Radio's good name could be associated with a reduction in services for young people."

It's also clear that Air America was the primary beneficiary of whatever "absolutely disgraceful" corruption occurred. As Jeannette Graves, president of Gloria Wise's executive committee, explained to the New York Sun this week, Mr. Cohen received more than $800,000 for himself and for Air America. She and her colleagues approved two $35,000 "loans" to Mr. Cohen plus another $167,000 for Air America because "he had thrown a tremendously successful fund-raising affair for Gloria Wise in Manhattan last year." He was "a very wonderful young man" who "left a very favorable impression." The rest of the transfers apparently happened without Mrs. Graves' knowledge: Someone approved a $213,000 loan with Mrs. Graves' name rubber-stamped on it plus a whopping $400,000 wire transfer.

Sounds serious. Do you thing Sen. Schumer will want to take a look?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Cultural tolerance cuts both ways

David Davis, the leading candidate to succeed Michael Howard as Britain's Conservative Party leader, writes today in the Daily Telegraph (registration may be required):

Let us be clear. Non-Muslims have obligations to their Muslim fellow citizens - to strive for equal opportunities for all, to accept the mainstream version of Islam as a part of society, and to reject the vile racism of the BNP (extremist, anti-immigrant party - ed.) and its like. But Muslims in turn have obligations: not simply to condemn terror, as one Labour MP put it, but to confront it.

Most Britons, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, will accept, even welcome, what Davis is saying.

But Davis' words are sure to draw objections from his country's multiculti far Left which typically supports what's worst and opposes what's good. It's been for the Bolsheviks, for Stalin, for Hitler when Stalin made a pact with him, for Mao and Che, for the Islamic fundamentalists, and for Castro's Cuba and North Korea. It's been against the Marshall Plan, against NATO, against defending South Korea, and against the Anglo-American and Euro-American alliances.

Unlike many British political leaders reluctant to act unless they can persuade the far Left "to join with us," Davis moves on and offers specific proposals to implement the principles he sets out.

Al-Qa'eda's long-term ambition is to eliminate moderate Islam altogether. It is therefore in the interests of moderate Muslims to support such measures as the extension of stop and search, the closing down of websites which support terror, the barring from Britain of clerics who support terrorist activity, and the licensing of visiting clerics.

To Britain's Muslim religious leaders Davis says:

Religious leaders have a special responsibility when those who commit crimes claim to be motivated by religion. We must acknowledge that there are good imams and bad imams. Most preach the true Muslim faith in a manner consistent with the society in which they live. Others, though, do not represent Islam properly and fail to understand the conventions of British society. Indeed, their aim is to destroy it. The Government must do more to encourage good imams to train here in Britain. Muslims themselves should help root out the bad ones.

Davis also has a message for all Britons:

Britain has a proud history of tolerance and respect towards people of different views, faiths and backgrounds. But we should not flinch from demanding the same tolerance and respect for the British way of life.

Making an unflinching demand for the same tolerance and respect Britain has shown others will require a course adjustment by Britain's ruling establishment. Let's hope it can make that adjustment. Davis seems determined to see that it does.

Unknown to most American's, Davis is obviously a person to watch. I'm now very interested in the Conservative party leadership election. I'll post more on it tomorrow.

Hat Tip:

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Good news for most but not all

The AP reports:

Consumers rediscovered their appetite for shopping in June, boosting spending by a strong 0.8 percent. It was fresh testament to the economy's momentum as it headed into the third quarter.

The AP goes on to report other good economic news, including personal income growing "at a nice clip of 0.5 percent" and factory orders up "a solid 1 percent."

While you and I may cheer the news, it must be a tough day for Princeton economics professor and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Krugman keeps assuring his readers the economy is really in bad shape, mostly because of President Bush and his policies. They appear to believe him.

But Krugman’s got to know that time is running out on him. Even the most faithful NY Times readers start to catch on eventually. And the economic news has been good for years.

So what's Krugman to do? I don't know, but he always comes up with something.

Maybe this time Krugman will claim America's economy would be about like France's (11 percent unemployment, stagnant GDP growth, etc.) if we, like the French, put family and vacation time ahead of economic pursuits.

Whoops! That's right; Krugman’s already made those claims in a recent column.( Times registration, free, may be required)

Well anyway, I'm sure the former Enron consultant will think of something.

Bonne chance, Paul.

A question for some Democrats

Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett is the Democrat candidate in today's special election to fill the U. S. House seat in Ohio's 2nd district which former Rep. Rob Portman, a Republican, vacated to become U. S. trade representative.

Hackett has offered himself as an antiwar candidate but he seems more an "I hate Bush" candidate. From the Washington Post (Aug. 1):

Hackett has harshly criticized President Bush for his July 2003 "bring 'em on" comment about Iraqi insurgents, saying such talk only added to the danger faced by U.S. forces.

"That's the most incredibly stupid comment I've ever heard a president of the United States make," Hackett told USA Today. "He cheered on the enemy." Hackett has also referred to the president as "a chicken hawk ... a person who advocates war in a cavalier way."

Hackett's also told voters he thinks the President is "a son of a bitch."

Do Democrats like Hackett and party chairman Howard Dean, who's called Bush "the enemy," realize they sound an awful lot like some of the people who were attacking President Kennedy just before Dallas?

This made me smile

(This made me smile are posts about things that - made me smile. I hope they do the same for you.)

Instapundit posts parts of a reader's comments on the pretty awful FX series, Over There.

The reader ends with:

I couldn't even finish the show, and as I write this it is playing in the background, and I hear someone screaming in agony. I wasn't aware the show was filmed in front of a live studio audience.

Up next:Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

Monday, August 01, 2005

To North Carolina's newest blogger: Welcome

North Carolina has a new blogger. She's Melanie Sill, executive editor and senior vice president for news at Raleigh's News & Observer.

Her blog is The Editor's Blog. You can visit here.

As JinC regulars know, I'm a frequent N&O critic. But in honor of Melanie's joining the blogosphere today, I've unilateraly declared a JinC moritorium on criticism of the N&O effective until midnight tonight.

Welcome and good luck, Melanie.

A "don't miss" at Mudville Gazette

I visit Greyhawk and his Mrs. at Mudville Gazette at least once a day. Here's another example of why: Greyhawk’s latest post, “A Vicious Circle.”

Greyhawk first tells us about a journalist who was nearly shot and killed by American troops at a checkpoint in Baghdad. He then quotes from the journalist's report:

Afterward I asked their captain how close they had come to killing us. He still had the safety off his M-16, his finger still curled around the trigger. He twitched it imperceptibly. "That close," he said. Had I not been there, but just my Iraqi colleagues or had the driver panicked and reversed or even had they been just a little farther away, no doubt I would not be writing this now. An ending that unfortunately many Iraqis have already suffered, shot at checkpoints and roadstops by jumpy troops, mistaken for possible suicide bombers, bombed by aircraft with faulty targeting information. All those things have indeed happened.

But how often, really? The answer: not very often, in fact. And not nearly often enough to make the 150,000 U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq the leading scourge of Iraq's civilians. That dishonor goes, hands down, to the insurgents. Even one incident is bad, of course, and there have been many. But civilian killings by U.S. troops are not nearly as common as the critics of the war in Iraq would like us to believe. It has become an article of faith among them that American troops have been slaughtering Iraqi civilians indiscriminately, and that one of the consequences of the war has been an unconscionable loss of life among the civilian population. It just isn't true.

I was surprised to learn for whom the journalist works and where his report appears.

The journalist's report and Greyhawk's commentary are outstanding.

And there's much more to the post. It's a "don't miss." The link's here.

The Washington Post withheld information

In his July 24 column Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler responded to reader complaints about the Post's withholding information the police had released to the public concerning four men suspected of committing a series of robberies and killing two people. According to Getler:

(The story) reported that one of the robbers shot and killed Herminio Moscoso, a 26-year-old father of two, as he came to the aid of his younger brother, who had a gun put to his head by one of the four men who had surrounded him. About 15 minutes later, the men fatally shot William Everette Miller, a 46-year-old mechanic, as he tried to get away from the robbers at a gas station where he had gone to get cigarettes. After the two murders, the four men committed two more robberies that same morning.

The story reported that: "Police are looking for the gunmen, described as being in their late teens or early twenties, driving a newer-model tan or light-colored sedan."

The news release put out by the Prince George's County Police Department was more specific. It said: "The four suspects are described as black males, possibly late teens or early twenties. One of the suspects is about 5'7", 22-25 years old, wearing a gray long sleeve T-shirt, and cornrow hairstyle. The suspect's vehicle is described as a newer model tan or beige/light colored sedan." The Post did not report the race of the suspects or the details that were available on one of them.

When I asked editors about this, they cited the paper's guidelines on race and relevancy. The guidelines say: "In general, race and ethnic background should not be mentioned unless they are clearly relevant. They are obviously relevant in stories about civil rights issues, the problems or achievements of minority groups, cultural history and racial conflict. They are also relevant and should be used in crime stories when we have enough specific identifying information to publish a police description of a suspect who is being sought."

Metro editors said it was their "view that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of black men about 5'7" with cornrows between ages 22-25 in Prince George's and (nearby) D.C. That is not specific enough detail to avoid a mass of innocent black men being 'suspects.' "

Metro's top editor, Robert McCartney, said, "This strikes me as a judgment call: How specific does the description need to be before we provide the identifying information?" Our experienced editors, he said, "thought this call was the right one, given Post Stylebook guidelines."

McCartney’s suppression of information made it harder for the public to help identify the suspects. It placed lawful citizens of every race at greater risk. Some Stylebook!

Getler goes on to quote a reader who puts some light on the Post.

Here's what a reader in Prince George's County said: "There are evidently four violent murderers of random civilians at large in the county in which I live."

He then cited The Post's description of the suspects and added, "That is not true. The police are looking for people using a more specific description than that, one that includes race. The Post took that information out. I know The Post usually defends this practice by saying that 'four white teenagers' [or African American or Asian American or Latino teenagers] provides information that is no more useful than saying 'two teenagers.' Maybe. The police certainly disagree. I think I do, too.

But once you've added the fact that the murderers are driving a 'newer model tan or light-colored sedan,' any additional descriptive factor at all becomes powerful, enough for investigators to do effective work with. It's also useful information for those of us filling up our gas tanks at 7 a.m. near where the robbers/murderers prowl.

"The Post's decision to strip useful identifying information out of its crime stories strikes me not only as empirically wrong but also paternalistic," he said. "I suppose it would be ad hominem for me to add that those of us who live in the areas suffering waves of violent crime care more about this stuff than do senior editors."

Getler ends with this:

Some people who write may have racial motives. But others seem to express genuine concern at Post editing practices and I find myself, even more than in the previous case, in agreement with them.

I wrote four years ago that the reality that newspaper editors at times feel different constraints than police departments about what should be made public about crimes is something that needs steady scrutiny.

But there is something about withholding information that the police make public that is troubling in a case such as this. It seems to me that the chance that it may be helpful is what's important and that people will understand that.

Getler and the reader have it right.

And one more thing: Isn't it time to revise the Post's Stylebook?

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Look how low the Associated Press will go

Here's part of the Associated Press' account of President Bush's July 31 visit to the National Scout Jamboree:

It was Bush's third attempt to travel to Fort A. P. Hill, the Army base hosting the Jamboree where Scouts are trying to end their 10-day gathering with cheery memories of mountain biking, fishing, scuba diving and trading patches with newfound Scouting friends across the nation.

On Wednesday, scouting enthusiasts waited hours in the heat for Bush, who later canceled his appearance because of threatening storms. Scouts began collapsing from high humidity and temperatures in the high 90s. More than 300 people were treated for heat-related illnesses.

Bush's second attempt to visit the Jamboree was postponed from Thursday at the Scouts' request. Officials wanted to review safety procedures for large crowds and replenish water and other supplies.

The illnesses came as the Jamboree participants were still trying to overcome the deaths on Monday of four adult Scout leaders who were electrocuted in front of several Scouts when a metal pole at the center of a large dining tent touched power lines. The tent caught fire and the men burned. An investigation into the accident is under way.

The day before, a volunteer was taken to a hospital where he died of an apparent heart attack.

"I appreciate the rain check," Bush said.

The Associated Press' placement of the president's "I appreciate the rain check" remark is what's often called "a set up."

We've all seen it done. You take what a person says and place it in a context in which the person really didn't say it. The person winds up looking foolish, mean, or whatever you intended.

In the case of the AP's story, it takes events from days past and puts a single sentence the president said today in the midst of those events with obvious intent.

Why do the AP and other MSM news organizations keep distorting what President Bush says and does? Remember Dan Rather, CBS and the forged documents? And remember The New York Times telling us "fake but accurate" was OK where the president reputation was concerned?

And why do MSM news organizations keep saying, "You can trust us. We have no bias."

Who believes them?