Saturday, July 05, 2008

Who’s Obama really fooling?

Have you been asking yourself that lately?

Tigerhawk takes up the question and has some fun with it at the expense of the NY Times’ editorial board. (what more deserving group?) I offer a few comments below the star line.

Tigerhawk begins - - -

When Barack Obama asks us to believe in one of his changes, it is never quite clear whether the rubes to be fooled are the Great Unwashed who agree with the Flop or the naifs who agreed with the Flip. The eternal question always is, "who are the rubes"?Well, in what is obviously a gust-busting turn, the editors of the New York Times are beginning to worry that they are the rubes.

In this morning's lead editorial ("New and Not Improved"), they detail and denounce many of Obama's post-Hillary pivots to the center. As their irritation builds, I'm thinking that there are only three positions that could explain this editorial.

First, that the editors genuinely believe that Obama could win the general election with his primary season policy ideas. It is believable that they think this because they live inside a Manhattan cocoon, but silly.

Second, that the editors would rather that Obama lose than compromise his principles. This seems unlikely in the cold light of a November morning, however satisfying it might feel to spew such romantic drivel on the Fourth of July.

Or, third, the editors know that Obama's pivots will be much more believable to the swing voters if the Times denounces them. This theory holds that the editors are pretending to be outraged so as to further deceive the rubes who prefer the Flop to the Flip.It is so hard to know which explanation to believe.

The rest of Tigerhawk’s post is here.

I think “the real” Obama is closer to the man we saw in primary/causus time going left than the man we’re seeing now moving toward the center. But I could be wrong.

I’ll be interested to hear from your all on the question but the persons whose honest opinions I’d really like to hear are Mrs. Obama’s and Rev. Wright’s.

BTW – Have you noticed all the Obama supporters on the Left who are saying they believe Obama’s recent moves to the center are just intended to mislead voters? They say he'll repudiate those positions after the election. So just about all the Left continues to support him.

Aren't those people now saying, in effect, they can support this new pro-FISA, gun-friendly, maybe-not-pull-out-of-Iraq-when-I-said-we-would Obama because they think/hope he's lying now?

And they're the very people who've been saying for years they don't like President Bush because he lied to them.

Krauthammer’s superb, 119-word Obama essay

If you read Charles Krauthammer’s columns, do you ever find yourself stopping in the midst of them to go back and reread a paragraph you’ve just read because it is so informative or persuasive or beautifully crafted or all those things?

I do; sometimes three or four times with one column.

Yesterday I stopped after reading the first paragraph of A Man of Seasonal Principles and reread it twice. Here it is, followed by my comments below the star line:

You'll notice Barack Obama is now wearing a flag pin. Again. During the primary campaign, he refused to, explaining that he'd worn one after Sept. 11 but then stopped because it "became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism." So why is he back to sporting pseudo-patriotism on his chest? Need you ask? The primaries are over. While seducing the hard-core MoveOn Democrats that delivered him the caucuses -- hence, the Democratic nomination -- Obama not only disdained the pin. He disparaged it. Now that he's running in a general election against John McCain, and in dire need of the gun-and-God-clinging working-class votes he could not win against Hillary Clinton, the pin is back. His country 'tis of thee.

The entire column’s here.



What do you think of the paragraph as a stand-alone essay? Doesn’t Krauthammer capture the essence of Obama? Does he waste a word? Is there a better word than “seducing” for what Obama spent the last year doing to hard-core MoveOn Democrats? And ending the paragraph with "His country 'tis of thee" on the Fourth of July?

More on N&O's coverage of Obama, Easley spouses

Thursday I posted N&O's double standard re: Obama's, Guv's wives.

The short of it: The Raleigh News & Observer gave extensive front page coverage to a substantial pay raise and promotion N. C. State University granted Mrs. Mary Easley, wife of Gov. Mike Easily. In the case of Mrs. Michelle Obama, the N&O’s reported extensively on her but, as far as I know, never even mentioned the much more substantial pay raise and promotion the Chicago University Medical Center (CUMC) gave Michelle Obama at about the time her husband was elected Senator. Both stories are worth reporting. I criticized the N&O for a double standard.

The post drew comments. I want to respond to one here. The commenter’s in italics; I’m in plain.

Allow me to clarify: I'm arguing that John is neglecting a key difference between the Obama and Easley cases. That difference -- the public/private distinction -- makes the Easley story much more newsworthy.

The CUMC is a internationally recognized, multi-hospital medical center with strong teaching and research emphases. Each year hundreds of millions of public dollars flow through CUMC to fund those activities as well as patient care.

CUMC’s activities necessarily involve it with governments at the local, state and federal levels. That involvement includes matters as diverse as government review of the bio-ethics of a research study to zoning and re-zoning affecting construction and building use.

It’s hard to believe you’re not aware of the foregoing and would offer “the public/private distinction.”

Whatever the case, you offer a distinction without a difference.

For one thing, the Easley story is localized in North Carolina; it's logical that the N&O would cover that more aggressively than something happening in Chicago.

Michelle Obama is the wife of a man who’s running for President. The N&O has covered her extensively, but selectively.

Besides failing to report on the very substantial pay raise and promotion she received from CUMC about the time her husband was elected Senator, the N&O has failed to report on what she thought of Rev. Wright’s racist and anti-American sermons and why she joined with her husband in taking their children to Wright’s church for religious instruction.

Much more importantly, the point of this public/private distinction is that this Easley scandal is a betrayal of taxpayers' trust.

I’ve already dealt with the “public/private” distinction without a difference.

On the matter of Easley’s pay raise and promotion, I wouldn’t call it a scandal or a betrayal of taxpayers’ trust if, as N. C. S. U. has said, she is uniquely qualified by professional training and experience to fulfill new duties for which her compensation package is comparable to that paid to others with similar training, experience and job duties.

To restate, it’s the N&O’s double standard I’m objecting to. I have no grounds at this time to say, as regards the pay raise and new duties, that either Mary Easley or N. C. S. U. has acted scandalously and betrayed taxpayers’ trust.

I simply don’t know; and not knowing I give both the woman and the university the benefit of the doubt.

Do you have any information supporting the serious charges you make? Or are you a troll?

The Obama situation really isn't, and I also think you could argue that as a public figure Michelle Obama is worth a lot more to the university now than she was even a year ago.

By this point I’m sure all fair-mined readers understand I apply the same standards to Michelle Obama as I do to Mary Easley as regards questions surrounding their pay raises and promotions.

It's hardly possible to make a similar argument about Mary Easley, the wife of a lame duck governor with modest regional visibility.

Even with Governor Easley a lame duck the matter of political influence can reasonably be thought to have played a role in Mary Easley’s promotion and pay raise, and certainly with Michelle Obama’s.

But that doesn’t mean either or both women are not well-qualified for the new positions they were given and deserving of their higher salaries in light of comparable pay to others for comparable work.

We should always remember that political influence is a fact of life that’s quite properly considered in certain hiring and promotion situations.

The current President of the University of North Carolina System, Erskine Bowles, is a former candidate for the U. S. Senate and served as President Clinton’s chief of staff. By all accounts Bowles, at the time he was considered for the office, had a reputation as a very able administrator with a tremendous knowledge of the state’s needs and the complex UNC System. He also had considerable political influence which no doubt was a factor in the Board of Governors’ decision to name him President.

All things considered, I see nothing wrong in that.

You don't need data or my personal experience to see that John's not making a valid comparison here.

Readers now have enough information to make their informed judgments about that.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Churchill Series – July 4, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

The following was first published July 4, 2006.

Churchill’s family ties to America were many. His biographer, Martin Gilbert, tells us something about them:

In 1963, in a message sent when he was eighty-three years old, Churchill remarked with pride to President John F. Kennedy that the story of his association with the United States went back nearly ninety years “to the day of my father’s marriage.”

That marriage took place in Paris on 15 April 1874. The bridegroom, Lord Randolph Spencer Chruchill, was the son of a British duke. The bride, Jennie Jerome, was the daughter of an American millionaire – although at that precise moment Leonard Jerome’s fortune has taken a temporary dip. […]

The first member of [Jennie’s] family to settle in America was an Englishman, Timothy Jerome, who reached America from the Isle of Wight in 1710, a descendant of Huguenot Protestants who had fled France for Britain three generations earlier.

One of Winston Churchill’s great-great-grandfathers, Lieutenant Reuban Murray, had served during the American Revolutionary War in the 17th Connecticut Regiment and the 7th Connecticut Regiment and the 7th Albany Regiment, New York Militia. […]

Leonard Jerome and his brother Lawrence married two sisters. Lawrence Jerome’s son, William Travers Jerome – Churchill’s second cousin – was to become a reforming District Attorney of New York who refused to bow to the dictates of Tammany Hall, with its strong political control. In 1906 he sought to be nominated as Governor of New York, but was unsuccessful.

The biographer of Churchill’s mother, Ralph G. Martin, speculates that if Travers Jerome had won the nomination and the governorship in 1906, “he might well have been nominated by the Democrats for President in 1912 instead of Woodrow Wilson.” […]

In 1865, from the window of their house on East Twenty-sixth Street, Jennie and her two sisters watched as the horse-drawn coffin of the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln passed in solemn procession on the street below.
All three of Leonard Jerome’s daughters married Englishmen.

I think Churchill had it right when, in his December 26, 1941 address to a Joint Session of Congress, he said:
By the way, I cannot help reflecting that if my father had been American and my mother British instead of the other way around, I might have got here on my own. (laughter)

In that case this would not have been the first time you would have heard my voice.(laughter)In that case I should not have needed any invitation. But if I had it is hardly likely that it would have been unanimous. (laughter) So perhaps things are better as they are.
I’m late with this post. I hope you all had a good Fourth.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (pgs. 1-4) Churchill's address to Congress can be found here.

Storms here now

so I'm breaking off posting I've started.

Come back tomorrow for posts exposing N&O's news bias in its report of Sen. Helms death.

A look at the George Soros - McClatchy N&O connection.

A post about the NYT's edit today on Obama.

And more.


Rushed now but

I'll have more tonight.

In the meantime, Charles Krauthammer has a wonderful column today.

Now I'm off for a little July 4 celebrating.

I hope each of you is having a wonderful day.


McClatchy's Raleigh N&O and George Soros

Here's Mike Williams' letter today. I make no comment now but will tonight.

Archer05, one of John in Carolina’s commenters, remarks that George Soros is buying and selling McClatchy stock. This isn’t the first connection we’ve seen between Soros and McClatchy. Plus we know that Soros is seriously into regime change in the US, and we also know what motivates him. Soros reportedly has:

· Secretly funded a debunked study that claimed 600,000 deaths in Iraq

· Funded a study alleging hundreds of false statements by the Bush administration about the war in Iraq

· Funded a smear campaign against Rush Limbaugh and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly

· Collaborated with Al Gore in establishing a new world order based on climate change

So now we’re getting confirmation that Soros’ money has its tentacles deep into a U.S. newspaper chain that includes my own rag, the N&O, as well as The Charlotte Observer. Want to bet that Soros’ money wasn’t behind the N&O’s recent Gitmo series?

Well, where’s James Bond when you really need him? Albert Broccoli is no longer with us, and Hollywood and the MSM are fixated on Bush and the military as the sources of all evil in the world. “Tomorrow Never Dies,” we hardly knew ye.



R.I.P. Jesse Helms. No telling what the N&O would have gotten away with without you.

Irving Berlin: A Great American (a repost)


On July 4,2006 I published the post below containing Stefan Kanfer's City Journal biographical article which paid tribute to Irving Berlin and his love for America. If you read it then or some other time, you may enjoy rereading it. If you haven't read it, most of you who come here will enjoy it and, I think, be moved by it.


Happy Fourth of July and welcome.

Tired of all the self-indulgence, Bush-bashing and just plain stupidity we’re exposed to from the likes of Sean Penn, the Dixie Chicks, and Barbra Streisand?

Would you like to spend part of your Fourth reading about a “show biz” celeb who loved America and knew he owed it plenty and tried to pay her back?

I’ll bet you would.

Than take a look at Stafan Kanfer’s City Journal article, The Americanization of Irving Berlin, which appeared in its Spring 2002 issue. Kanfer begins:

It is supremely fitting that “God Bless America”—that stirring hymn to patriotism—has become our unofficial anthem in the aftermath of September 11, since the life of the legendary New York songsmith who penned it, Irving Berlin, born one Israel Baline in 1888 in distant Siberia, epitomizes everything about America’s indomitable civilization that our terrorist enemies despise: its openness to striving and talent, its freedom, its inexhaustible optimism and creativity.

Baline’s amazing American success story began when he stepped onto Ellis Island in 1893, on his way to Gotham’s teeming Lower East Side, “the eyesore of New York and perhaps the filthiest place on the continent,” according to the New York Times of the era. However dirty and poor, this Jewish ghetto was incubating an American renaissance that would produce legislators, merchants, professionals of all stripes—and Irving Berlin.

Berlin’s family was too poor to provide piano lessons, let alone a piano; Berlin would remain musically illiterate. His father, Moses, a cantor, gave him a love of melody and a quick wit, but that was about all he could afford.

To supplement the family’s meager income, Israel, more fluent in English than his parents and five older siblings, haggled with a nearby junk shop. “I used to go there selling bits and pieces of an old samovar that my mother had brought from Russia and kept under the bed,” he once recalled. “I’d get five and ten cents for the pieces and kept selling them until the entire samovar disappeared.”
Kanfer's article is here. I think it will leave you with a very good feeling.

I’ve only one quibble with Kanfer. He says Berlin was tightfisted. Certainly Berlin was a careful investor and kept a close watch on his money. That’s just smart.

But tight fisted? Berlin gave away the rights to a number of his songs including “God Bless America,” the rights to which he gave to the Girl Scouts. In both WWI and WWII he made frequent appearances to entertain the troops never asking a penny for his service. There's nothing more valuable we can give then our time. And when Berlin made overseas USO trips during WWII he, like other entertainers who want overseas, was taking a significant risk.

Enjoy The Americanization of Irving Berlin.

And God bless America.
Post URL:

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 3, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

If you were to pick words to describe Churchill, one of the last would surely be "passive." Churchill didn't care for passivity in himself, and his biographer Martin Gilbert tells us he refused to accept it from his generals :

Anything that smacked of passivity on the part of his army commanders incurred Churchill's wrath. Learning at the beginning of November 1941 that nothing "large" was being planned against the German and Italian forces in the Western Desert by [General] Wavell's successor, Churchill wrote to his former Boer War adversary, General Smuts, then a respected voice in Allied military circles: "I dread the idea of this long delay when, as we know for certain, the enemy is hard pressed for supplies and would be greatly embarrassed by making exertions."

He continued: "In war one cannot wait to have everything perfect, but must fight in relation to the enemy's strength and plight. I am appalled at the proposal to remain passive all this time, when the golden opportunity many be lost."

Later, Churchill was to summarize this failing in a terse comment: "The maxim 'Nothing avails but perfection' may be spelt shorter - 'Paralysis.'"
The passages I just quoted are found on pg. 56 of Gilbert's book describing Churchill's war leadership which, most appropriately for the passages we've just read, is titled Continue to Pester, Nag and Bite.

Obama, Ayers, Dohrn video: Don’t miss it.

LATEST READER ALERT @ 11:50 PM ET on 7/3: With a hat tip to Archer 05 it looks like if you paste this in:

you'll arrive at Powerline. Then follow my instructions below.


READER ALERT @10:30 PM ET on 7/3: The link to the video does not take you there. I can find one that does. A suggested alternative (thanks, Jack) doesn't get you there either.

I'm contacting the Powerline guys and hope to have a working link very soon. If any of you have one now, please send it one.

I'll erase this Alert once the problem's solved.

Thank you.


A Powerline reader put together a video highlighting Sen. Obama’s connections to terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernaadine Dohrn; then with voice over asking Obama three questions.

The video’s “cool,” “hot,” and not to be missed. It lasts 81 seconds.

To call it up after you get here and see the images of Ayers and Obama:

1) Click twice fast on the patch in the center of the screen.

2) Then click twice fast on the Play icon at the bottom left of the screen.

3) The screen goes dark for about 20 seconds; then the video begins.

I’d love to hear your reactions.

Hat tip: Mike Williams

More newspaper job cuts. So why go to J-school?

Here’s another AP story [excerpts] announcing job cuts at newspapers. Comments follow below the star line.

The Los Angeles Times plans to cut 250 positions, including 150 jobs in the print and online news departments, amid a continuing industrywide slump in ad sales, the paper's editor said Wednesday. ...

[The] paper will undergo a makeover by the fall that will cut pages by 15 percent per week, eliminate some sections and trim story length, [editor Russ] Stanton said. ...

The move followed an announcement last week that the paper's parent, Tribune Co., is exploring the sale of its headquarters in Chicago and the building in downtown Los Angeles that houses the Times.

A half-dozen major newspapers announced layoffs last week totaling about 900 jobs.

Also Wednesday, Journal Sentinel Inc. said it would cut about 10 percent of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 1,300 full-time employees, and Media General Inc. said it would lay off 21 newsroom employees at The Tampa Tribune by early fall as part of a one-fifth cut in its news staff. ...

The Times' weekday circulation fell 5.1 percent from a year earlier to 773,884 in March, while the Sunday edition fell 6.1 percent to 1.1 million, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. That ranked it fourth and second in the nation, respectively. ...

Hiller did not provide details on the severance terms to be offered but said he expected they would be similar to earlier staff buyouts, including payment equivalent to two weeks' salary for every year of service, up to 52 weeks. (emphasis added)

The paper cut 100 jobs, including at least 40 in the newsroom, in February. Continuing reductions have pared the Times' news staff from its 2001 level of nearly 1,200. ...

The entire AP story's here.


This is not the first time a newspaper has announced job cuts but no details about severance packages. That's usually a sign the packages won't be much. If they were, the newspaper would be crowing.

In days past, if a major company had announced job cuts and said nothing about the content of severance packages, newspapers would have been all over that company with "the public's right to know" demands and editorials the next day denouncing "the insensitivity and secretness of executives who yesterday announced job cuts without letting the workers know what kind of severance packages they are to receive."

But when newspapers do the job-cutting, the old double standard comes into play.

Commenter Archer 05 offers some spot on observations:

Where are all the J-School graduates going to find jobs? Friends of mine are critical of colleges expanding their journalism departments for a diminishing profession.

Professional journalists writing ads for glossy brochures doesn’t fit well with the expense of their $150,000 education. Telling students 70% will find a J-job, without telling them, it may not be the job they seek, is bandit-like behavior, IMO.

Also, professional journalists are complaining that semi-professional bloggers are taking their jobs!

Maybe some of these semi-J’s are more fact based, and that is why they are well received.

Message to J-school students: Pay attention to what Archer 05 is saying.

Message to the non-journalists at newspapers: I'm very sorry you’re caught in a bad situation not of your making.

Message to able, honest journalists: The same goes for you. I'm very sorry.

“No shame” and other terms for Sen.Tom Harkin

Yesterday I posted Tom Harkin belongs on your "No Shame" list.

The short of it: Sen. Tom Harkin, a staunch supporter of Sen. Barack (“Don’t question my patriotism.”) Obama attacked Sen. John McCain’s and his family’s military service. Democrat Harkin said their service makes McCain look “pretty dangerous.” Harkin himself had been exposed in 1992 for making fraudulent claims about his own military service including that he had served in combat in Vietnam when he had not.

I want to respond to part of one of the comments. Commenter’s in italics; I’m in plain.

So let me understand this. According to Senator Harkin, since Sen. McCain has "seen military service and [has] family ties to the military [that gives] him a "pretty dangerous" outlook and [makes] him less suitable as president."

But "when [Harkin] hears [criticism of Sen. Kerry] coming from Dick Cheney, who Harkin says was ‘a coward,’ who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes [Harkin’s ] blood boil."

So being in the military is a negative if you are a Republican and not being in the military is a negative if you are a Republican. I would hardly use the appellation "No shame" for Sen. Harkin; I would think, "incoherent" or "addled-brained" is the better term.

Thanks, Commenter, for an excellent deconstruction of Harkin’s remarks. “Incoherent” and “addled-brained” sure fit them.

But with all of that, he still belongs on your "No shame" list.

Senator Jesse Helms, R. I. P.

The following this morning at

Former U.S. Sen. Jesse A. Helms, the son of a Monroe police chief who rose to national prominence as one of the leading lions of the American right, died early this morning. He was 86.

During a political career that began with his election to the Raleigh City Council in the late 1950s and included 30 years in the U.S. Senate, Jesse Alexander Helms endeared himself to conservatives throughout the country.

Helms became known as “Senator No” for his constant battles against everything from increased government spending to civil rights legislation to communism to the National Endowment for the Arts. Helms was even willing to wage war against fellow Republicans if he felt they were straying from the conservative agenda, particularly in the area of foreign policy.

But as beloved as he was by conservatives, many of whom became part of his potent political organization, Helms was a lightning rod for criticism from liberals and moderates. Whenever Helms was up for re-election, liberals from throughout the country poured money into the campaign of his Democratic opponent.

Helms was once called the “Prince of Darkness” by the chairman of the national Democratic Party.

“Whether you liked his politics or not, he was a national force able to deliver for his constituents," Gov. Mike Easley said in a statement. "We last appeared together when the Navy named a submarine after North Carolina at his request. He certainly didn’t shy from controversy and you always knew what his positions were. Whether we were working together to stop international drug trafficking or opposing each other on the campaign trail, he was always a gentleman to me.”

Personally, Helms could be the picture of the courtly Southern gentleman and entertain guests with stories of his past. Despite his many years in Washington, Helms avoided the social scene so endemic to the nation’s capitol. Instead, he preferred quiet evenings at home with Dorothy.

But Helms also could be cantankerous, particularly with the reporters who worked for the newspapers and television stations that Helms often criticized as pushing a liberal agenda. He was sometimes accused by other senators, including those in his own party, of being obstructionist and mean-spirited. …

While he went on to become a vocal critic of The News & Observer throughout his political career, Helms did find something he liked at the newspaper. While working at the N&O, Helms met Dorothy Coble, editor of the society page. They were married in 1942. …

The entire N&O report’s here.

The N&O's story is as much a political attack as a report on the public man's death.

What follows is a comment I tried to leave at the end of the story but I encounted technical difficulties. I'll comment further on the N&O story tonight.

My comment:

You say Sen. Helms while employed at the N&O found "something" he liked there: Dorothy Coble whom he'd marry.

Instead of "something," you should have said "someone."

Now about liberal Democrat reporter Rob Christensen comment that: " But Helms also could be cantankerous, particularly with the reporters who worked for the newspapers and television stations that Helms often criticized as pushing a liberal agenda.

He was sometimes accused by other senators, including those in his own party, of being obstructionist and mean-spirited."

Helms treated honest, able reporters very well. Those reporters liked him even when they disagreed with his politics.

But Helms was also quick to confront reporters who'd reported falsely and demand they correct. Reporter Christensen may call that "cantankerous," but fair-minded citizens call it "setting the record straight."

As for Senator Helms being considered “mean-spirited," many of his political opponents, including those at the N&O, felt that way just as many people think Senator Obama was mean-spirited to belittle people Obama said cling to guns and their religion because those people are, according to Obama, "bitter."

In my own encounters with the Senator, whose policies I often opposed, he was a gentleman and a straight-from-the-shoulder person who let me know what he was thinking and what he thought of what I was saying.

Like any of us he was sometimes wrong. But he did much good and always looked out for America, even when doing so upset a lot of people.

I express my sympathy to his wife Dorothy, his family, friends, and the legions of ordinary citizens he helped throughout his life who grieve his loss while the N&O works snide digs into its story reporting his death.

John in Carolina

PS - Senator Helms wouldn't have been surprised at the way the N&O reported his death.

N&O double standard: Obama’s & the Guv’s wives’ promotions, pay raises

Yesterday I posted Obama and the audacity of political influence. It included excerpts from a Washington Post story which began:

Shortly after joining the U.S. Senate and while enjoying a surge in income, Barack Obama bought a $1.65 million restored Georgian mansion in an upscale Chicago neighborhood. To finance the purchase, he secured a $1.32 million loan from Northern Trust in Illinois. …
WaPo reported the Obamas obtained the loan at a below-market rate and with costly fees such as loan origination and points waived. The story also reported:
When the Obamas secured the loan, their income had risen dramatically. Obama assumed his Senate seat in January 2005, with an annual salary of $162,100. That same month, Random House agreed to reissue an Obama memoir, for which it originally paid $40,000, as part of a $2.27 million deal that included two future nonfiction books and a children's book.

Around the same time, the University of Chicago Hospitals promoted Michelle Obama to a vice president and more than doubled her pay, to $317,000. ...
Today the liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer’s front page headlines above the fold:
Mary Easley's NCSU pay soars
The first lady, an executive-in-residence at the school, gets an 88 percent raise to $170,000 a year
The WaPo story’s here; the N&O’s here.

I’ve just sent N&O public editor Ted Vaden the following email with a copy to executive editor for news John Drescher.

Dear Ted:

Regarding today’s lengthy, front page story concerning Mrs. Mary Easley’s hefty pay raise awarded by N. C. State University, I’ve no problem. Easley’s pay raise, which the university says is justified based on new duties, involves public money. And Mary Easley's the governor’s wife.

It’s important for citizens to know about the situation; and it’s appropriate for the N&O to ask questions and report prominently what it learns.

But I’m concerned there’s a double standard evident in the N&O’s treatment of Mary Easley’s situation and a strikingly similar one involving Mrs. Michelle Obama which, as far as I know, the N&O has not reported in any detail.

I’m referring to Michelle Obama’s promotion by the University of Chicago’s Hospitals about the time her husband was elected a U. S. Senator. WaPo reported yesterday that with the promotion “her pay was more than doubled to $317,000.”

Like N. C. State, the University of Chicago Hospitals receive many millions in state and federal funds.

Why would the N&O not report on Michelle Obama’s promotion and pay raise with the same prominence and detail you’ve devoted to Mary Easley’s promotion and pay raise?

I thought about the possibility it might be because Michelle Obama is not a local or state figure.

But it’s hard to accept that explanation when you recall all the prominent and positive coverage you gave to her and her campaign appearances here during the primary.

Shouldn't readers expect the N&O to cover Michelle Obama’s promotion and pay raise with at least the same attention detail and prominence you’ve devoted to Mary Easley’s?

Michelle Obama may very possibly be America’s next first lady.

I’ll publish your response in full.

This links to the WaPo story.

Have a nice Fourth of July.


John in Carolina

Cc: John Drescher

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 2, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston s. Churchill.)

There's a pop quiz today. But don’t fret. It’s one of those quizzes we all dreamed of in school: The answers come with the questions.

What pseudonym did Churchill use during World War II when he wished to keep his name out of the headlines? Colonel Warden

What nation did Churchill say "suffered in every respect by her association with the Western democracies"? Czechoslovakia

What kind of handgun did Churchill carry when serving in the trenches in France in WWI? A Colt .45 automatic (BTW – He was an excellent shot with both pistol and rifle. - John)

What signal went to British ships when WSC became for the second time First Lord in 1939? "Winston is back"

What military campaign in the First World War did Churchill predict with startling accuracy? German invasion of France

What was Churchill's particular warning to Britain about Germany in the late Thirties? Air parity was being lost

Churchill was aware of Hitler's history of broken promises. How many can you name?
Versailles Treaty provisions, Locarno pact, Anglo-German Naval Agreement, demilitarized Rhineland, guarantee of Czech borders after Munich, Czech borders his "last territorial claim in Europe"

What was Scapa Flow? A bay in NW Scotland where the Grand fleet was often anchored during both World Wars.

From which well-known literary figure did Churchill receive a letter praising his ideas for tanks? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

You already knew the answer to that last question, didn't you? You’re saying, “It was elementary, my dear John.”

Q&As provided by The Churchill Centre.

Tom Harkin belongs on your “No Shame” list

This from yesterday's New York Sun:

… Senator [Tom] Harkin of Iowa . . . suggested in May that Mr. McCain's military service and his family ties to the military gave him a "pretty dangerous" outlook that made him less suitable as president. "I think one of, one of the problems John McCain has, is that his grandfather was an admiral, his father was an admiral. He comes from a long line of just military people, so I think his whole worldview, his life view has been shaped from a military viewpoint, and he has a hard time thinking beyond that," he said, according to Radio Iowa.
And this from an Aug. 18, 2004 Wall Street Journal editorial:
... On Monday the Iowa Senator lashed out at Dick Cheney, claiming the Vice President had no right to criticize Mr. Kerry's policies for the war on terror because Mr. Cheney had a deferment back then: "When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil."

"Coward"? Such a comment would take chutzpah coming from anyone. But Senator Harkin is a proven fabricator when it comes to his own Vietnam-era record, as shown during his own failed 1992 Presidential bid. (emphasis added)

Consider this excerpt from a Wall Street Journal news story by James M. Perry from December 26, 1991:

"In 1979, Mr. Harkin, then a congressman, participated in a round-table discussion arranged by the Congressional Vietnam Veterans' Caucus. 'I spent five years as a Navy pilot, starting in November of 1962,' Mr. Harkin said at that meeting, in words that were later quoted in a book, Changing of the Guard, by Washington Post political writer David Broder. 'One year was in Vietnam. I was flying F-4s and F-8s on combat air patrols and photo-reconnaissance support missions. I did no bombing.'

"That clearly is not an accurate picture of his Navy service. . . . Mr. Harkin's Navy record shows his only decoration is the National Defense Service Medal, awarded to everyone on active service during those years. He did not receive the Vietnam Service medal or the Vietnam Campaign medal, the decorations given to everyone who served in the Southeast Asia theater."

It turned out Mr. Harkin had not seen combat and was stationed in Japan.
If you don’t have Tom Harkin's name on your “No Shame” list, it’s incomplete.

The Sun's story’s here; the WSJ editorial’s here.

Obama and the audacity of political influence

Here are excerpts from a story in today’s Washington Post followed by my commnts below the star line.

WaPo begins - - -

Shortly after joining the U.S. Senate and while enjoying a surge in income, Barack Obama bought a $1.65 million restored Georgian mansion in an upscale Chicago neighborhood. To finance the purchase, he secured a $1.32 million loan from Northern Trust in Illinois.

The freshman Democratic senator received a discount. He locked in an interest rate of 5.625 percent on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, below the average for such loans at the time in Chicago. The loan was unusually large, known in banker lingo as a "super super jumbo." Obama paid no origination fee or discount points, as some consumers do to reduce their interest rates. …

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the rate was adjusted to account for a competing offer from another lender and other factors. "The Obamas have since had as much as $3 million invested through Northern Trust," he said in a statement.

Modest adjustments in mortgage rates are common among financial institutions as they compete for business or develop relationships with wealthy families. But amid a national housing crisis, news of discounts offered to Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the banking committee, and Kent Conrad (D-N.D) by another lender, Countrywide Financial, has brought new scrutiny to the practice and has resulted in a preliminary Senate ethics committee inquiry into the Dodd and Conrad loans.

Within Obama's presidential campaign organization, former Fannie Mae chief executive James A. Johnson resigned abruptly as head of the vice presidential search committee after his favorable Countrywide loan became public.

Driving the recent debate is concern that public officials, knowingly or unknowingly, may receive special treatment from lenders and that the discounts could constitute gifts that are prohibited by law.

"The real question is: Were congressmen getting unique treatment that others weren't getting?" associate law professor Adam J. Levitin, a credit specialist at Georgetown University Law Center, said about the Countrywide loans. "Do they do business like that for people who are not congressmen? If they don't, that's a problem." …

When the Obamas secured the loan, their income had risen dramatically. Obama assumed his Senate seat in January 2005, with an annual salary of $162,100. That same month, Random House agreed to reissue an Obama memoir, for which it originally paid $40,000, as part of a $2.27 million deal that included two future nonfiction books and a children's book.

Around the same time, the University of Chicago Hospitals promoted Michelle Obama to a vice president and more than doubled her pay, to $317,000. …

Unlike Countrywide, where leaked internal e-mails documented a special discount program for friends of chief executive Angelo Mozilo, Northern Trust says it has no formal program to provide discounts to public officials. Loan officers may consider a borrower's occupation when establishing an interest rate, the bank said.

"A person's occupation and salary are two factors; I would expect those are two things we would take into consideration," said Northern Trust Vice President John O'Connell. "That would apply to anyone seeking to get a mortgage at Northern Trust." He added that the rates offered to Obama were "consistent with internal Northern Trust rates at that time."

"The bottom line is, this was a business proposition for us," he said. "Our business model is to service and pursue successful individuals, families and institutions."

O'Connell referred additional questions to the campaign.

Since 1990, Northern Trust employees have donated more than $739,000 to federal campaigns, including $71,000 to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama's house purchase has been a source of controversy. In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that on the day of the closing, the wife of Obama's longtime friend and fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko closed on an adjoining lot that had been the estate's side yard.

The Obamas bought the house for $300,000 less than the asking price of $1.95 million, while Rezko's wife, Rita, bought the neighboring lot for the full asking price of $625,000. Rita Rezko later sold a portion of the undeveloped lot to the Obamas, enlarging the senator's yard.

Tony Rezko already had been linked to a grand jury investigation involving public corruption. Last month, he was convicted of 16 counts in an influence-peddling scheme that reached the highest levels of Illinois state government.

Here’s the entire WaPo story.


Senator Obama’s friend and pastor of 20 years said he’s “just another politician.” Does anyone want to dispute that?

WaPo’s story brought to mind the 19th century Tammany Hall pol’s explanation of how he grew rich “serving” the public: “I seen my opportunities and took ‘em.”

The Obamas have obviously taken advantage of his political position to rack up some sweet deals. Northern Trust’s was nice. Tony Rezko’s was really nice. And that Random House $2.27 million deal? It doesn’t get much nicer than that.

Suggested title for Obama’s next book: The Audacity of Political Influence.

Did the N&O sue for release of Carson autopsy report?

Commenters have asked that question recently.

The following is from N&O public editor Ted Vaden’s June 15, 2008 column -

Why does The News & Observer need to see Eve Carson's autopsy report? That was the question from several readers last week after they read stories about the paper's lawsuit to obtain the official autopsy report on the slain UNC student body president. Two Durham men have been charged in the killing.

The N&O asked a judge to order release of the report, which had been sealed at the request of the Orange/Chatham district attorney. On Wednesday, D.A. Jim Woodall said he would release the report June 30, by which time police are expected to have completed interrogations. The N&O withdrew the suit, conditional on that resolution. …

Vaden’s entire column’s here.

Here's a link to the N&O's story yesterday reporting on the autopsy report which was made public June 30.

Kerry in Cambodia – Instapundit in 2004

Following up on yesterday’s post: What the Swift Boat Vets Actually Said.

I thought you might be interested to have a look at something University of Tennessee School of Law Professor and Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds posted on Aug. 8, 2004. It helped torpedo Kerry’s Christmas in Cambodia tale and lend credence to the Swift Vets.

Reynolds began:

TOM MAGUIRE has already posted John Kerry's speech claiming to have been in Cambodia on Christmas day, 1968. But because this is a question of importance, and because some people might doubt the veracity of quotations pasted in from NEXIS, I thought I'd go to the law library and check it myself in hardcopy. (The law library was closed and the copiers were off, but I have a key, and -- let this be another lesson to bloggers everywhere -- a digital camera).
Reynolds then pasted in his photo shot of the relevant part of Kerry’s Christmas in Cambodia speech as published in the Congressional Record.

Reynolds continued:

Here's a link to a larger version showing the exact page citation and context.

The evidence that Kerry wasn't in Cambodia seems pretty strong (see Tom Maguire's post, along with this letter) which makes Kerry's claim all the more difficult to understand.

It's possible, of course, that there's an innocent explanation for this, even if I can't quite think of one. Maybe Kerry was on a double-secret mission to Cambodia, such that everyone involved continues to deny it today. Except, inexplicably, for Kerry. . . . Or maybe his memory failed him -- though there's that "seared--seared--in" language to contend with when considering that hypothesis. Or he could just have been bragging. Your call.

Personally, I remain more interested in what Kerry would do regarding the current war, but since he invites us to judge him on his Vietnam record, evidence that he might not be telling the truth about that record is obviously relevant. …

There’s more to Reynolds’ post. It’s all here.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 1, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Following the Conservatives’ election victory on October 25, 1951, Churchill became Prime Minister again. He got right to work forming a new government.

The man who served during part of WW II as Churchill’s Principal Private Secretary, Jock Colville, tells us about a call to serve in the new government. Colville was with his wife enjoying a day at the Newmarket races when :

As I watched the races and contemplated my losses (endemic, as far as I am concerned, on a race-course) an agitated official emerged from the Jockey Club Stand and asked if I was Mr. Colville.

When I assented, he said, “It’s the Prime Minister wants you on the telephone.”

“Whatever he asks you to do,” advised my innately cautious wife, say ‘No’”

[On the phone I heard the] familiar voice: “Would you, if it is not inconvenient (but do pray say if it is), take a train to London and come to see me?”

“Tomorrow morning?”

“No, this afternoon.”

Of course I did, and was invited to be the new Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary.
Colville was a Private Secretary to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain when Churchill assumed the premiership on May 10, 1940. Churchill knew Colville admirered Chamberlain and had been a supporter of appeasement. But he kept Colville on because he felt he needed Colville's knowledge and the continuity he'd provide in the Private Secretary's office.

Starting as a critic who doubted Churchill's ability to lead Britain, Colville gradually developed a deep respect for his leadership and a great fondness for him. In time, Colville and his wife became two of Winston and Clementine's closest friends.

Responding to Readers & Commenters on July 1, 2008


Recently I’ve not responded to comments as often as I’d like.

I'm sorry for that.

The past 10 weeks or so have involved heavy travel and other commitments; the next 10 or so will be the same.

I continue to read the comments and, as you’ve seen, a number of main page posts were prompted by comments one or some of you made or by heads-up you provided.

I thank you for your civil and thoughtful comments.

That said, I’ll try to comment more often on the threads.

I’ve not read all the articles, posts, etc you've linked to, but I’ve set aside time to read some of them this July 4 weekend. It will be a “quite time” for me because everyone in my immediate family except our son and youngest grandson will be out there in the “wide, wide world” far from Durham.

For those of you new to JinC, I’ll say it again: much of the best commentary at this blog is on the threads. Be sure to give them a look.

I hope you keep visiting.


What the Swift Boat Vets Actually Said

Jim Geraghty at NRO writes about that today. Here’s part of what Geraghty says, followed by my comments below the star line.

I'm not the first to make this point, but it seems the attacks on John McCain's war service stem from prominent Democrats completely misreading what happened with the Swift Boat Vets for Truth. The Democrats' conventional wisdom is that A) everything the group said was a lie and B) they attacked Kerry's wartime service.

Go back and reread what they charged. (Take a walk down memory lane from the Kerry Spot here, here and here and [NR White House correspondent Byron York’s] assessment of the impact here.)

A lot of [the Swift Vets] stories came down to their word against John Kerry's. Some of the points of contention were inconclusive, and some of the reactions their comments triggered, like convention delegates wearing "purple heart band-aids" on the floor of the convention, were crass. But they scored several major points.

The first was when they pointed out the impossibility of Kerry's story of "Christmas in Cambodia" that was "seared, seared" into his memory. When one of Kerry's oft-cited war stories had such a glaring impossibility at its heart (Richard Nixon wasn't president, and thus couldn't be denying bombing in Cambodia, on Christmas 1968) it raised doubts about all of his other accounts of the war.

Second, no Kerry supporter could dispute the candidate's postwar "Genghis Khan" testimony before Congress, which many Vietnam veterans saw as a betrayal. When it became clear that Kerry was referring to secondhand accounts, and had not himself seen soldiers cutting off heads and ears, many veterans saw that as reckless at best and most likely slander.

I'd argue that this was the Swift Boat Vet argument that really gained traction, and I suspect many voters saw it as a situation that revealed Kerry's character. …

Geraghty’s entire post’s here.


Here are four other things I feel sure helped the Swift Vets “score points:”

1) Dan Rather/CBS’s 60 Minutes episode which used the phony Texas Air National Guard documents to smear the President. Fair-minded citizens quickly understood the Rather/CBS story was a deliberate fraud.

Beside Rather and CBS, the Swiftees looked pretty good to those citizens.

2) Dan Rather’s and CBS News’ false claim, repeated for 10 days, that the anonymous source of the documents was “unimpeachable.” On Sept. 21, 2004 USA Today and other news organizations revealed what Rather and CBS had known all along: their source was long-time Bush-hater and Democratic activist Bill Burkett.

Now the Swiftees looked even better because the key things they were saying were holding up.

3) The Democratic dominated MSM’s frenzied pursuit of evidence as to whether President Bush had, as a National Guard officer during the 1970s, attended a few NG training sessions in Alabama. The Dem/MSM’s unintended message to the public: pay attention to everything these guys did in the service.

That was very bad for Kerry who wanted the public to pay attention to only some things he did in the service and said about the service of our military in Vietnam.

4) Most important of all in my opinion: Kerry’s failure to deliver on his promise to release all his Navy records. It didn’t help him that, despite a huge amount of news suppression by much of MSM, the word got out that Kerry reneaged on his promise after he’d read all his Navy records.

The Swiftees kept reminding the public of that.

That's what I think. What about you?

BTW – Kerry still hasn’t released all his Navy records, has he?

McClatchy League score: Sacbee 12 – N&O 10

Today McClatchy Watch reports “Great News! - - - McClatchy killing fewer trees.” The “A” section of the July 1 Sacramento Bee, McClatchy's hometown flagship newspaper, is “a mere 12 pages.”

McClatchy’s sister paper, the liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer, did better in today's "killing fewer trees" contest. It’s July 1 “A” section contains “a mere” 10 pages.

McClatchy Watch also reported McClatchy closed yesterday at a new 52-week low.

McClatchy Watch does an outstanding job tracking the decline of the once thriving and reliable McClatchy news organization that continues drifting left on its news pages while its financial troubles grow.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Churchill Series - Jun. 30, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

On October 25, 1951, Churchill, a month shy of his seventy-seventh birthday, led the Conservatives to victory in the General Election. So for a second time King George VI asked Churchill to form a government.

The new Prime Minister immediately set to work at his Hyde Park Gate London home in to form his government. Of course, he asked many of those who’d served with him during WWII to join the new government. One of them was Lord Hastings (“Pug”) Ismay, a close friend who during the war headed the Defense Office.

Ismay had gone to bed and was sleeping when the call came:

I was told that Mr. Churchill wanted to speak to me. There were many people sitting by their telephones that night, hoping, and perhaps praying, that the new Prime Minister might have something to offer them, but these were problems which were no concern of mine.

The conversation was brief.

“Is that you, Pug?”

“Yes, Prime Minister. It’s grand to be able to call you Prime Minister again.”

“I want to see you at once. You aren’t in bed, are you?”

“I’ve been asleep for over an hour.”

“Well, I only want to see you for five minutes.”

I put my head under a cold tap, dressed in record time, and was at 28, Hyde Park Gate within a quarter of an hour of being wakened.

Mr. Churchill was alone in his drawing-room, and told me, without any preliminaries, that he wanted me to be Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.

I thought that the cold tap had failed to do its work and that I was still dreaming, but Mr. Churchill brushed aside my doubts and hustled me into the dining-room where I found Mr. Eden, Lord Salisbury, Sir Norman Brook, and a bevy of secretaries working away on a variety of drafts.

The years rolled back. It was like old times.
Isn’t Ismay’s account wonderful!

I’ll say more about it in tomorrow’s post.
Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Never Despair, 1945 – 1965 (pgs. 653-654)

Obama’s surrogates attack McCain’s military service

Blog friend Mike Williams writes - - -

Obama surrogate, General Wesley Clark, U.S. Army (Ret.), trashed John McCain’s military service yesterday on CBS’s Face the Nation. Ed Morrissey has the details

The mil bloggers are wondering, “When do you move from ‘retired senior officer’ to ‘
political hack?’”

At the NRO, Jim Geraghty observes:

After statements by a half-dozen high-profile Democrats and Obama surrogates, you cannot persuade me that there is not a concerted effort on the part of Obama Democrats to criticize McCain on his war record.

George McGovern, Jay Rockefeller, Tom Harkin, Democratic congressional candidate Bill Gillespie, Ed Schultz, Tony McPeak, and now Clark.

Way too many to be coincidence.

We're seeing a lot more derisive comments about McCain's wartime service than we are about Obama's race….



Senator Obama wants us all to “lay off my wife,” by which he means don’t ask her whether she ever discussed with him what the Anything for Obama media flacks call “the fiery sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright,” sermons most Americans would recognize as racist and anti-American.

But his surrogates can go ahead and denigrate Senator McCain’s heroic service to America.

Of course, Obama will be careful to say he has nothing to do with the belittling of McCain’s military service.

He's a new kind of politician who's above any seamy, slimey, shameful stuff.

If you don't believe that, just ask Chicago's Mayor Daley or Obama's long-time friend Tony Rezko.

Raleigh N&O Select isn’t the answer

In March 2006 when the Raleigh News & Observer “broke” what was then called “the Duke lacrosse rape story,” its parent company McClatchy’s stock traded in the mid-40s. At 1 PM ET today, June 30, AOL reported MNI was trading at 6.88. Moody rates McClatchy’s bonds as what’s commonly termed “junk.”

Like all McClatchy papers, the N&O’s engaged in a cost-cutting program which has included seventy recent job cuts, outsourcing, downsizing the paper, and combining with its sister McClatchy paper, the Charlotte Observer, on reporting in such areas as sports and state political news . The N&O’s work in tandem with the Observer is expected to lead soon to job cuts in both those news areas.

But despite all of the cost-cutting measures, the N&O’s and McClatchy’s revenues are falling faster than they can cut costs. Talk of a possible McClatchy bankruptcy is becoming more common.

What to do to stop – or at least slow - the bleeding?

I’ve heard some people at the N&O are asking why the paper should be “giving away” its content at the paper’s Internet site, Why not charge for at least some of that content, they’re asking? And why not charge people for using the N&O’s archives?

The short answer to all those questions is: It’s been tried and failed?

In 2005 the New York Times announced that henceforth readers would either have to buy the print edition or pay to read online some of its select content. And every one of us would have to pay to access the Times’ archives.

The Old Gray Lady called her “pay-for-view” program TimesSelect.

For more than a year, the Times’ assured everyone TimesSelect was a huge success.

But the Times’ hype didn’t fool informed people – including advertisers – who knew the principal effect of TimesSelect was to drive people from the Times to other news and information sources.

So it was no real surprise when in September, 2007 the Times announced the demise of TimesSelect in “A Letter to Readers About TimesSelect.” Here’s part of it:

Effective Sept. 19, we are ending TimesSelect. All of our online readers will now be able to read Times columnists, access our archives back to 1987 and enjoy many other TimesSelect features that have been added over the last two years – free.

If you are a paying TimesSelect subscriber, you will receive a prorated refund. For more information, please go to our TimesSelect FAQ.

Why the change?

Since we launched TimesSelect in 2005, the online landscape has altered significantly. Readers increasingly find news through search, as well as through social networks, blogs and other online sources.

In light of this shift, we believe offering unfettered access to New York Times reporting and analysis best serves the interest of our readers, our brand and the long-term vitality of our journalism. We encourage everyone to read our news and opinion – as well as share it, link to it and comment on it.
The Times being the Times, it couldn’t resist ending the letter without some self-flattering claims about itself, including its ill-conceived TimesSelect:
This month we mark the 156th anniversary of the first issue of The New York Times.

Our long, distinguished history is rooted in a commitment to innovation, experimentation and constant change. All three themes were plainly evident in the skillful execution of TimesSelect; they will be on full display as becomes entirely open.
If Raleigh N&O Select won’t help the paper, are there things the N&O can do to stop – or at least slow – the bleeding short of the job cuts and other draconian measures its been taking?

I think there are. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be posting on many of them.

The first two posts will examine 1) why it’s to the N&O's benefit for it to decide whether to remain a liberal/leftist oriented publication or become a centrist, straight news reporting organization rather than being the former while claiming to be the latter; and 2) how N&O journalists, particularly editors, should respond to readers with access to the information and transparency the Internet and bloggers have made available to them.

What Justice Scalia had in mind

Excerpts from a crime story at

The woman said she was driving on E. 17th Street when Beard came riding up on a bicycle and pulled a gold handgun on her. When she refused to get out of the car, he began hitting her in the head with the gun.

He then pulled her out and drove off with her gold 2001 Toyota Corolla.

Police found the woman semi-conscious with severe head injuries. She had to have eight stitches in her head and 10 stitches in her leg, where she was also hit.

Police located Beard at 4724 Tomahawk Dr. and arrested him as he walked out of the residence. He told officers the stolen car was being driven "by one of my goons."

Officers located the vehicle a couple of blocks away on Bella Vista Drive. Blood was found inside the vehicle, and the woman's purse was also inside.

Beard said he threw the gun out of the window while driving through Highland Park. ….
When setting bail for Beard:
…..General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon said Friday that crime in Chattanooga "has become so rampant that it is no longer possible for the police department to protect our citizens."

He told [the] woman who had been pulled from her car and beaten in the head that she or her mother needed to "purchase a weapon, obtain a gun permit and learn to protect yourself." The woman moved back in with her mother after the May 4 incident on E. 17th Street.

Judge Moon said, "The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that all citizens have a right to purchase a weapon to defend themselves, their families and their homes - unless there is some disqualification that prevents them from owning a weapon." ….
What Judge Moon said reflects an important aspect of what Justice Scalia had in mind when he wrote the Heller decision: The founders wanted innocent citizens to have the means to protect themselves from criminals and others who’d take away their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The entire story’s here.

Hat tip:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dem Rep. Delahunt's "glad [Al Qaeda] can ...see you"

From Gateway Pundit - - -

Ouch!... Major Eric Egland Blasts Al-Qaeda Supporter Bill Delahunt

Major Eric Egland, the founder of Troops Need You, responded to the outrageous remarks by Representative Bill Delahunt (D-Mass), who said on CSPAN that he was "glad (Al Qaeda) can finally see" a certain White House official.

Egland says, "Our troops are risking their lives around the world to fight Al Qaeda, so our government should support them by taking the threat seriously."Amen.

This weekend Major Eric Egland who has gone after Al-Qaeda in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bosnia released this important message responding to Democrat Bill Delahunt:

"I was angry when I heard a US Congressman tell a White House official how glad he was that Al-Qaeda could finally see him on TV. You know, inviting Al-Qaeda to target a fellow American, even sarcastically, is wrong, let alone from the very capital that Al-Qaeda targeted on 9-11. Have we forgotten who the real enemy is?"
Please take action: Call your representative in Congress and demand that Delahunt apologize from the floor of the House for what he did.

Please call now: (202) 224-3121.

Previously:It's Settled Then... Rep. Delahunt (D-MA) Finally Proves That Dems Are Not Just Anti-American-- They're Pro-Al-Qaeda

Newsweek polls now and in 1984

The WSJ’s John Fund the other day:

…Some Democrats claim new polls by Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times showing Sen. McCain trailing by 15 points in each seal the deal on an Obama presidency. But both polls appear to be outliers. Other polls show the race to be close.

Both surveys polled registered, not likely, voters. Normally, only two-thirds of those end up casting ballots, and nonvoters lean Democratic.

Second, Democrats had a 14-point advantage in Newsweek's sample, and a 17-point advantage in the Times poll, with Republicans making up only 22% of respondents. That's an unusually low number. Most other polls have the party ID gap with a significantly smaller Democratic edge. …
Red State reminds us:
The day the Democratic convention ended in San Francisco in 1984, the Newsweek poll showed Walter Mondale 18 points ahead of President Ronald Reagan.
Some people have used the 1984 Newsweek post-convention poll finding to question the current Newsweek and LAT polls.


From the Sept. 17, 1984 NY Times:
President Reagan and Vice President Bush lead their Democratic opponents, Walter F. Mondale and Geraldine A. Ferraro, by 18 percentage points, a Newsweek magazine poll released Saturday showed.

Among those polled, 57 percent said they will vote for Mr. Reagan compared to 39 percent who prefer Mr. Mondale. (emphasis added)

Some 81 percent of those polled agree with Mr. Mondale that taxes will have to rise next year, but 57 percent say the Republicans will be better able to keep the country prosperous. Only 30 percent believe Mr. Mondale could do the job.

For the Newsweek poll, the Gallup Organization interviewed 1,055 people nationwide by telephone. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
And from the actual 1984 presidential popular vote:
Reagan 59 percent – Mondale 41 percent (percentages rounded to the nearest whole number)
So what to make of Newsweek’s and the LAT’s recent poll findings?

I’ll go with what Fund said at the start of his column:
Some pundits claim John McCain has no chance of beating Barack Obama. "The current bundle of economic troubles should doom any Republican hoping to succeed George Bush," says NBC's Chris Matthews. "It's almost impossible to believe that another Republican could get elected," insists Katty Kay, the BBC's Washington-based correspondent.

They need to better understand the rhythms of presidential campaigns and show more humility in a year that's been chock full of political surprises.
What about you?

Fund’s entire column’s here; here’s the Red State post; the NYT article; and the page for the ’84 presidential vote.

Schumer and Scalia on moderation

The following post was first published in Sept. 2005 with the title "The real reason Schumer opposes Roberts?"

Among my favorite Roberts nomination op-eds is one I read today by Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Here's part of what Keating says:

New York's senior senator [Chuck Schumer] portrays himself as moderation's great defender.

In a 2003 letter Schumer arrogantly advised Bush on how to pick a Supreme Court justice: "I start by encouraging you to use the same principles that guide me in evaluating judicial nominees. I consider three criteria: excellence, diversity and moderation."

Speaking in California last week, according to The Associated Press, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made an excellent point:

"Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges.

What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?"
Is it any wonder Schumer will oppose Roberts, someone he fears may turn out to be another Scalia.

None of us like people who call attention to our arrogance and ignorance.
Keating's entire op-ed is here.

Hat Tip:

Scalia cited ancient British right

A friend emailed:

There’s an interesting dimension to the 2nd Amendment arguments that unfortunately I can’t find the link to. Briefly, the thread goes that an individual’s right to bear arms (hunting and self-defense I’d guess) predates the Constitution, and that the Founding Fathers were very particular about protecting what they called inalienable rights (like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) from infringement by government.

I think that is what this OP-FOR blogger is getting at here.
In his latest column George Will notes Justice Scalia cited what my friend most likely had in mind when he referred to "an individual's right to bear arms [that] predates the Constitution[.]
...In an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, who believes that construing the Constitution should begin, and often end, with analysis of what the text meant to its authors, the court affirmed the individual right. Scalia cited the ancient British right -- deemed a pre-existing, inherent, natural right, not one created by government -- of individuals to own arms as protection against tyrannical government and life's other hazards. Scalia also cited American state constitutional protections of the right to arms, protections written contemporaneously with the drafting of the Second Amendment. (emphasis added)...
Will's entire column's here.

Comments, anyone?