Thursday, December 17, 2009

NY Times stoops to new low … lobbied unnamed journalistic prize committee against awards to WSJ

This incredible revelation came to light in a letter Monday from Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thompson to a number of news organizations. It was a response to a NY Times article by David Carr entitled “Under Murdoch, Tilting Rightward at the Journal.”

Carr's somewhat snarky article accused the Journal of tainting its reputation as “one of the crown jewels of journalism” into a more mundane conservative newspaper and that it was assuming a pro-business, anti government stance. The Times accusing the Journal of sullying its reputation with biased journalism??? What chutzpah! The Journal’s response was quoted in Editor and Publisher which was a recipient of the letter.

It contained the incendiary allegation that Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times lobbied against the Journal’s “journalists and journalism” with a prize committee. 

"The news column by a Mr David Carr today is yet more evidence that The New York Times is uncomfortable about the rise of an increasingly successful rival while its own circulation and credibility are in retreat. The usual practice of quoting ex-employees was supplemented by a succession of anonymous quotes and unsubstantiated assertions. The attack follows the extraordinary actions of Mr Bill Keller, the Executive Editor, who, among other things, last year wrote personally and at length to a prize committee casting aspersions on Journal journalists and journalism. Whether it be in the quest for prizes or in the disparagement of competitors, principle is but a bystander at The New York Times."

What’s behind this? Probably more than the increased competition between the two papers. The Times’ decision whether to run a story or not has very often been followed by the rest of the media, especially when it involves something detrimental to Democrats. Whether this comes from “like mindedness” or persuasion is subject to debate. My feelings are it comes from both and the latter is almost surely present much of the time.

The Times leadership is now being challenged by the Journal. They are publishing “no go” stories the Times and others are holding back on. The recent ClimateGate coverage is an example. The Journal did not follow the Times’ lead. It covered the story and covered it well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

“Social Justice” (Socialism) is what warmists yearn for … not global cooling

The forebodings the Jews of Europe had as they were herded onto cattle cars to an unknown destination are the same feelings of helplessness I have as the Copenhagen Climate Summit reaches its conclusion. It is the concern that unaccountable, unelected and unresponsive individuals will seal my fate and squander my assets to bring “social justice” to the world.

Make no mistake, global warmists are more interested in achieving an agenda of undoing Westernism than cooling the planet. It is Westernism that has brought unbridled prosperity to most of the world, and where it doesn’t exist (North Korea, Cuba, Myanmar for instance) it leads to abject poverty and suffering. Yet it is our very prosperity they seek to destroy.

I’m not sure what “social justice” is precisely, other than it is preached from the pulpit of the likes of the Reverend Wright when he attacks “rich white people.” And it is being preached from the pulpits of liberal newspapers. I think it is what Joe the plumber objected to. But most of all I don’t understand how transferring the world’s treasure to corrupt regimes will ever alleviate poverty in those countries. It hasn’t before and there is no reason to believe it will in the future.

But read a sample of the misguided logic from the liberal Guardian:

Social justice demands that the industrialized world digs deep into its pockets and pledges cash to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, and clean technologies to enable them to grow economically without growing their emissions. The architecture of a future treaty must also be pinned down – with rigorous multilateral monitoring, fair rewards for protecting forests, and the credible assessment of "exported emissions" so that the burden can eventually be more equitably shared between those who produce polluting products and those who consume them.

When Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa, found it couldn’t feed itself because Mugabe’s racist policies forced productive white farmers off their farms, the UN came to the rescue. It provided free maize (corn) to the government to feed its people. But then the government of Zimbabwe sold this gift to acquire foreign exchange. When the UN insisted its personnel oversee the distribution of its largesse to the hungry, Mugabe kicked them out. All efforts to alleviate misery were stymied unless it enriched the corrupt regime.

Haiti’s population has so denuded its countryside to find kindling to cook with, they face destructive mudslides when any tropical storm passes by. Countless foreign aid teams have addressed the problem. And millions of dollars in financial assistance, both private and governmental, have not been able to stop it. The government has been run by a series of corrupt strong men. It is unreasonable to expect money will solve the problem. It will just add to some Swiss bank account’s balance.

The folks who run the UN’s IPCC (located in Switzerland) simply want to establish and maintain control over our lives. Their “social justice” is no more than a form of government imposed on unwilling East Europeans over 60 yeas ago. Global Warming is only a pretext for doing it.

I have always been a believer that the thirst for freedom is universal, that it can never be quenched. Those who have had it stolen from them will forever seek to have it returned. My generation grew up watching Soviet Socialism take over large chunks of the world. The first of the rebellions against it occurred in East Germany in June 1953, a workers protest against the heavy handedness of the newly imposed Communist government. A photo of two men facing off against a tank (above) electrified the world. It appeared on the cover most news and pictorial magazines of the day.

It has lived in my memory. It is a reminder that those who want freedom should never give up.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Amazing! From the NY Times … a positive review of Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue

Stanley Fish in his NY Times blog Opinionator reviews Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue. It is a very satisfying analysis for those who admire her, of which I am one. But it is totally out of character for the Times. Read it. It finishes with these words:

But run she does (and falls, but so what?), and when it is all over and she has lost the vice presidency and resigned the governorship, she goes on a long run and rehearses in her mind the eventful year she has chronicled. And as she runs, she achieves equilibrium and hope: “We’ve been through amazing days, and really, there wasn’t one thing to complain about. I feel such freedom, such hope, such thankfulness for our country, a place where nothing is hopeless.” The message is clear. America can’t be stopped. I can’t be stopped. I’ve stumbled and fallen, but I always get up and run again. Her political opponents, especially those who dismissed Ronald Reagan before he was elected, should take note. Wherever you are, you better watch out. Sarah Palin is coming to town.

The comments are in many ways more interesting read than the review itself. They paint a picture of total intolerance from the left for any reasonable discussion of Sarah Palin. They attack the messenger and spout talking points a year’s worth of biased drivel they have read in the Times. It’s a revealing look at the mindset of the Time’s readers. Here are some:

Mr. Fish, you do realize that as an educated and thoughtful person you would not be welcomed in Sarah Palin's Republican party? Scalia, Roberts, Atillo, [sic] Reagan etc would also be unwelcome. When you sleep with the dogs the GOP has the last few decades you are going to pick up the fleas. Mr. Fish is one of the most stupid smart people ever to take a pen to paper. For those that don't know this piece forms part of Fish's new monograph "Surprised by Simpleton," wherein an "authentic" voice leads her unwitting audience's to support blithe ignorance and cheery demagoguery. This column is disgusting for many reasons. Here’s one: We just endured eight disastrous years of an ignorant, unqualified lightweight as president. As a result of The Decider’s abysmal job performance, hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives and millions lost their life savings. Now Sarah Palin aspires to become the leader of the free world, and Stanley Fish has written a love note to her in the New York Times. Do you have any sense of responsibility, Dr. Fish? I have absolutely no respect left for you. i'm really surprised to read a deconstructionist former professor of literature opine confidently about what an author actually "believes". isn't it obvious that sarah palin believes most in her own entitlement?

On the other hand there are a few supporters.

What an amazing article to find published in the NYT. An article about Sarah Palin that actually avoids descending into the sexist vile and misogynist hate that one has come to expect as de rigueur in any piece about Sarah Palin in the NYT. As much as Palin has made some decisions and statements that irk and bewilder me, she also has gotten a patently unfair treatment from the media who pounced upon her as soon as they heard a utterly false allegation about her family going on a high-priced clothing shopping spree. As far as I know, no reporter has yet apologized for completely failing to fact check the allegation, and it was only a year or more after the event, as Palin's book was readying for release, that the stylist who had done all of the shopping on the RNC tab without much RNC oversight and with no knowledge of the Palin's fessed up to the real story. A good reporter could have dismissed the rumor with three or four phone calls, but none bothered to do so, and instead launched into maligning Palin every chance they got. And it worked. Palin quickly became laughingstock among all liberals. So it's nice to hear a fair treatment of Palin in the media, even if in a blog, or at least one that openly admits the biases against her and tries to judge her outside of those tired political tropes. This isn't to say that Palin's own political tropes are better, but the bulk of the media judging Palin's every move through the same colored lens is a gross miscarriage of journalistic integrity.

 One thing to note, this is a blog and did not appear on the sacrosanct print pages of the Times. But it still has the leftists screaming.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Does Spanx mean the end of the sexual revolution?

When I was in college in 1958 my dad made a comment that my generation was the worst generation ever, meaning primarily morals and music. It’s a statement most dads have probably made to sons over the millennia. My retort was, “well what about the Roaring Twenties, bathtub gin and petting parties?” After denials of his involvement in any of that, this line of conversation ceased.

Those who came of age in the fifties lived through what is now considered one of the tamest times since the Victorian era. It was the age of Doris Day, hula hoops, and dancing the jitterbug. It was the heyday of the Catholic Legion of Decency, and airbrushed body parts in Playboy center spreads.

But most of all it was the age of the girdle. Young women with great shapes felt they had to improve on Mother Nature’s perfection. The ultimate development of the girdle was the panty girdle, the modern day equivalent of the chastity belt. A gentleman caller knew instantly from a gentle pat on the fanny that the best he could hope for was a gentle kiss goodnight.

All that changed in the sixties and seventies. The boomers burned their bras and shed their girdles. Bras had a revival simply because of gravity and inevitable natural aging but the girdle went the way of the buggy whip. However the lady boomers who thought modern diets and Jane Fonda workouts would keep them forever looking 18, found fat deposits still wanted to migrate from their top parts to their tummies and rear ends.

In 2000 the mother of necessity answered the need and Spanx was invented. Now you can’t call it a girdle, it wouldn’t sell. It is a development of panty hose with a super duty fabric. And it is spreading to a younger generation. But it has its drawbacks as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Before Jessica Kraus put on a tight-fitting frock one recent evening, she wriggled into a $76 piece of flesh-toned underwear that extended from the bottom of her bra to mid-thigh. She felt confident and svelte as she left her apartment to meet friends for cocktails. Then a few hours later, the 25-year-old Boston event planner was faced with what she says was a "horrific situation." As she was embracing a man she had met that night, Ms. Kraus got to thinking about what lurked beneath her sleek exterior. "There's no graceful way of taking the thing off," she says.

The world has come full circle. Will this dampen the sexual revolution? It’s doubtful anything can. And I hope not.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

UK Met Office to reexamine temperature data around the world … a victory for truth

Today’s Times of London reveals the UK Met (Meteorological) Office will go through the painstaking job of reassembling all of the original temperature data that was recently discovered to have been destroyed by the CRU, reportedly in the 1980s. This earth shattering news was discovered by the University of East Anglia shortly after it announced all source data and code used in the CRU’s reports would be made public. Two days after the revelation of the destroyed data, it was announced Phil Jones, CRU’s director would temporarily step down, pending an independent investigation.

The Met Office plans to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by leaked e-mails. The new analysis of the data will take three years, meaning that the Met Office will not be able to state with absolute confidence the extent of the warming trend until the end of 2012. Since the stolen e-mails were published, the chief executive of the Met Office has written to national meteorological offices in 188 countries asking their permission to release the raw data that they collected from their weather stations.

This is a necessary task for any future climate research to be credible. Not only will this provide verifiable baseline data, but it will also determine to what extent Jones et al fudged the data. Many of us are waiting for that. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the university had its meeting with Jones, to question why all the difficulty in releasing data and source code, only to discover it didn’t even exist. Now for a university to find it’s most highly publicized and respected department continued to publish papers for at least 20 years, papers that had a major influence on all the economies of the world and not have the data to back them up, must have had those in the room dumbstruck.

The real question is why nobody was ever told. And another question is why none of the peer reviewers ever picked it up. Well we do know the answer to that from reading the emails. They could be counted on “without being nudged.” My guess is the question wasn’t whether or not Jones should be sacked, it was a matter of when.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

NY Times is finally forced to write a substantive but incomplete and biased story on ClimateGate

The “temporary” step down of Phil Jones finally forced the NY Times to do some print coverage of the scandal. Missing from the story are any quotes from the incendiary emails and very little about reaction of other scientists over this growing scandal.

Phil Jones, the director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England, said that he would leave his post while the university conducted a review of the release of the e-mail messages. The university has called the release and publication of the messages a “criminal breach” of the school’s computer systems. The e-mail exchanges among several prominent American and British climate-change scientists appear to reveal efforts to keep the work of skeptical scientists out of major journals and the possible hoarding and manipulation of data to overstate the case for human-caused climate change.

The Times’ emphasis on the criminal aspect of the email release is more than somewhat laughable in light of some of its rather questionable publication of highly classified comint information. But the important point here is the Times has simply played the same old game of attempting to suppress an unpalatable story that has been burning up the internet. It is a repetition of the Giles/O’Keefe/Breitbart story on ACORN. They tried to make that one look like they were caught napping, but the world knows it was more to keep the story from “getting legs.”

The Times and its Public Editor Clark Hoyt are easy targets because they keep doing the same thing and keep getting caught at it. I wrote Clark twice on ClimateGate, once Saturday evening and the other yesterday shortly after the Phil Jones step down was announced. This from 11/28/2009:

It has been 10 days since the “hacked” … emails made it into the public domain and in that time the NY Times has reported on it only once in print…. And its conclusion was that it was no great shakes…. Since then the internet has been burning up with analyses from highly respected statistical experts whose writings paint a widespread and extremely damaging picture of data manipulation. This is in addition to playing games with the peer review process and suppressing free access to source data as well as violating the FOI acts in both the US and the UK. 

So serious is the breach of integrity, green activist writer for the Guardian, George Monbiot, has called for the resignation of Dr Philip Jones (CRU’s director). Dr. Eduardo Zorita (a prominent climate scientist at Hamburg’s GKSS) has called for Drs Mann (of the now discredited hockey stick thesis) and Jones to be barred from any further participation with the UN’s IPCC.

Today the University of East Anglia (home of the CRU) has ordered the release of all climate source data into the public domain. After your paper was admittedly “slow off the mark” in reporting the ACORN scandals in September, your editors promised you would have an editor keep track of the hot stories on the internet. So far he or she is doing a terrible job. …You will not be the newspaper of record on this story, just as you weren’t when you ignored so many others. The UK’s Telegraph is where students of history will go for the CRU story, sadly not the NY Times.

And this from yesterday:

I wrote you earlier that the Times is certainly not the "Newspaper of Record" on the ClimateGate issue. Again you are "slow off the mark" and lacking "tunedinness." What happened to your internet monitoring editor? The above story passed over the AP wire a short time ago. It's the same as if Einstein were stepping down pending an investigation of his work. It is earth shaking, especially on the eve of the Copenhagen conference. Again the Times is well behind the curve on this story. While you tried to marginalize the AGW critics, your editors only succeeded in marginalizing themselves. Good luck explaining this away in next Sunday's column. (Emphasis added)

Clark Hoyt should stop being an apologist for the Times. He should man up and do what a readers’ representative should. Criticize the editors in no uncertain terms for failing to report the news. Don’t ask them for their rationale for not covering the story, go to Jay Rosen or some other impartial media critic for their opinion. But he won’t do that. Hoyt is only there as window dressing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Phil Jones, CRU director “temporarily” steps down pending an investigation

The following just passed over the AP wire. CRU director and author of many of the damning “hacked” emails, Phil Jones, has temporarily stepped down pending an independent investigation. This is only the beginning of his problems. East Anglia University holds all the emails and source data (what’s left of it), on its computers. They should be able ascertain the scope of the fraud he perpetrated. If data has been recently destroyed, they should be able to find out who did it. Happy hunting guys!

UK climate scientist to temporarily step down (AP) – 1 hour ago

LONDON — Britain's University of East Anglia says the director of its prestigious Climatic Research Unit is stepping down pending an investigation into allegations that he overstated the case for man-made climate change.The university says Phil Jones will relinquish his position until the completion of an independent review into allegations that he worked to alter the way in which global temperature data was presented. The allegations were made after more than a decade of correspondence between leading British and U.S. scientists were posted to the Web following the security breach last month. The e-mails were seized upon by some skeptics of man-made climate change as proof that scientists are manipulating the data about its extent.

It is doubtful the media can contain this, though as of this moment (3:20 pm EST) it has not been posted by the NY Times.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Good video on cooking the data on the hockey stick

This video includes a lengthy series of interviews with Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit. It is an excellent recap of his battles with Mann and the CRU. It was produced by a Finnish group and adds their own tree ring data which support McIntyre. It is in Finnish with English subtitles. The McIntyre interviews are of course in English. It was released recently and appears to have been updated with new information from this past weekend. Click here to open the site.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nature abhors a vacuum … that’s what we are getting from the media on ClimateGate

After its miserable failure to cover the O’Keefe/Giles expose of ACORN, the MSM is striving for a repeat performance in ClimateGate with near silence. This is a story of “hacked” emails from the Hadley Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University in the UK that were made public about 12 days ago. It is a story of the top climate research scientists cooking the data, queering the peer review process and encouraging each other to destroy data covered by two nations’ Freedom of Information Acts.

Coverage by the nation’s two “leading” newspapers has been underwhelming. A total of three print articles have been written in the NY Times and Washington Post. All three ignore or minimize the underlying corruption of the scientific method, find the most significant aspect is that CRU scientists are antagonistic to skeptics, and reach the same conclusion (in strikingly similar wording - note bold text) that it’s no big deal.

From the Times (11/21):

This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud,” said Patrick J. Michaels, a climatologist who has long faulted evidence pointing to human-driven warming and is criticized in the documents. Some of the correspondence portrays the scientists as feeling under siege by the skeptics’ camp and worried that any stray comment or data glitch could be turned against them. The evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument.

 First article from the Post (11/22): While few U.S. politicians bother to question whether humans are changing the world's climate -- nearly three years ago the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded the evidence was unequivocal -- public debate persists. And the newly disclosed private exchanges among climate scientists at Britain's Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia reveal an intellectual circle that appears to feel very much under attack, and eager to punish its enemies. The second Post article (11/25) reaches a similar conclusion as the Times. "This is not a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud," proclaimed one skeptic. Not quite. Assuming the documents are genuine -- the authenticity of all has not been confirmed -- critics are taking them out of context and misinterpreting at least one controversial e-mail exchange. None of it seriously undercuts the scientific consensus on climate change. But a few of the documents are damaging for other reasons.

 Fortunately we have the internet, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and several UK newspapers that aren’t part of the journalistic omerta (code of silence) to cover this scandal. In particular the internet has been the conduit to the scientific community for the technical aspects of the emails. The MSM isn’t really needed here. They have dissected the data and the statistical code used in the temperature calculations and many are appalled. And some very prominent names are calling for blood.

Green activist and renowned columnist for the leftist Guardian, George Monbiot, has called for the resignation of Phil Jones, Director of CRU. Eduardo Zorita of Germany’s climate research center, GKSS, has said Michael Mann (of now discredited hockey stick fame) and Phil Jones should be barred from further participation with the UN’s IPCC “because the scientific assessments in which they may take part are not credible anymore.”

The University of East Anglia (home of the CRU) has announced it will now release all source data into the public domain. And Penn State University has said it will investigate the writings of Michael Mann in light of new information revealed in the recent emails. No doubt there will be new revelations and accusations. Remember all of this has happened without the assistance of the US media, save Murdoch’s group which is not part of omerta.

Fortunately we have Canadian Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit (damned in many of Phil Jones emails) and Anthony Watt of Watts Up With That keeping us informed. So heavy was traffic on Steve’s website after the release of the emails, it melted down. He now has an alternative site (use it) which can handle the load.

Watt’s site has been setting records, doubling its viewership from earlier in the month. Both are good reads. Steve’s are heavy on the statistical side and often Anthony will translate Steve’s Geek into English for less informed (such as me) on his website. Both are good friends of each other and work well together.

Anthony’s cause, outside of reporting on climate change, is attempting to document some of the absurdly biased siting of US weather stations. Some are on blacktopped building rooftops, some subject to jetwash at airports, and some are near hot exhausts of a/c compressors. He is leading a citizens’ effort to photograph and note discrepancies from proper siting standards.

The best wrap up of ClimateGate so far ran in the Telegraph (UK) today. Read it. It will open your eyes. Again the old media has stepped in it. By ignoring the story they hope it won’t “get legs” and damage the warmists’ agenda at the upcoming Copenhagen climate conference, December 7. They will fail in that as they have failed in so many others. They seek to marginalize conservative thought, but they only marginalize themselves. Their circulation numbers are tanking. Climate Audit and Watts Up With That are setting record highs.

Update: The Times of London is now reporting much of the underlying raw data to determine the actual measured temperatures for the past 150 years was destroyed in the 1980s. There is no way to verify this data other than Phil Jones' word. The whole global warming scenario simply can't be verified.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ahmadinejad gives Obama the bird

Iran put an exclamation point on its message to the US that it’s not interested in having its reactor fuel reprocessed outside of its territory. Yesterday it announced it was going to try the three hapless Americans who stumbled into Iran, on spy charges. These idiot thrill seekers are now hostages who are being used for leverage against the US. And just like the embassy hotages in the Carter presidency, they are being used to humiliate Obama.

At the end of September, after months of negotiations, Iran agreed in principle to allow its research reactor fuel to be reprocessed outside of its borders. This is important from a non-proliferation standpoint because the country doing the reprocessing has control of the spent fuel byproducts, most importantly the nuclear explosive plutonium. But as the October deadline loomed, Iran first agreed to allow France and Russia to do it, then only Russia and eventually said no one could. That’s where it stands now.  The administration is desperately shopping around for another country such as Turkey without much luck so far. Iran is doing a typical stall, buying time while it continues its nuclear enrichment program.

This is the inevitable outcome when one side has talks as its prime goal, and the other just wants time. For Iran the price is cheap, just the expenditure of a lot of hot air. Obama should look back at the endless talks of the Carter years over our embassy hostages that invariably ended in frustration. At a certain point the US must say we have passed the deadlines, we are making no progress and we will take appropriate action. And still we haven’t even addressed Iran’s uranium enrichment program which should be our prime objective.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Surprise, surprise … bloggers to be covered under the Senate version of the federal shield law

According to Editor & Publisher and other sources, the Senate has worked out the wrinkles of a federal shield law to protect news gatherers from being forced to reveal confidential sources. The issues holding it up were from the White House involving classified leaks and national security issues.

The major surprise however is it apparently covers freelancers and “citizen journalists,” a euphemism used to describe bloggers.

The negotiated compromise creates a fair standard to protect the public interest, journalists, the news media, bloggers, prosecutors and litigants," said Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., a cosponsor of the Free Flow of Information Act.The revised bill would also extend protections for freelance or citizen journalists by defining a journalist by the nature of activity engaged in rather than by the organization that employs the reporter.

Earlier this year, the House passed its version of the bill. This is good news for citizen journalists.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fox News zings the White House with a new sign off --- now “Fair, Balanced and Unafraid”

If you didn’t notice it, Bret Baier of Fox News added a little zinger when he signed off tonight. Instead of “Fair and Balanced,” it was “Fair, Balanced and Unafraid.” It was an obvious reference to the threats coming from the White House.

The FCC should use its power to cut the legs out from under liberal news

In the days before deregulation, hordes of economists at the CAB and the ICC set tariffs and determined the “correct” amount of service on city pairs for the airline and trucking industry respectively. One of the few gifts Jimmy Carter gave us was to replace these clunky and inefficient regulatory agencies with a far more rational and efficient system that is market driven. Unfortunately we are about to lurch back into the past, though not necessarily in those industries.

The one agency that is jumping at the opportunity to reregulate the market is the FCC. With all its newfound zeal, it now has a perfect opportunity to redress a true market imbalance. There are five TV/Cable news operations: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News and CNN. 4 of the 5 are certifiably liberal and only one conservative. Yet the latest Gallup Poll shows there are twice as many conservatives as liberals (40% to 20%). Surely the FCC should use its club of license renewal to persuade say NBC and CBS to join the conservative club. Still, that would give only a 3 to 2 conservative preponderance, rather than a deserved 2 to 1, but we could live with that.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Obama’s thuggish tactic to intimidate the media … finally hits a snag

One shouldn’t underestimate the significance of yesterday's pushback by the members of the White House news pool over the exclusion of Fox News from the interview process with pay czar Kenneth Feinberg. The unanimous decision of members of the pool (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN) to refuse any interviews without Fox’s presence had the White House quickly and dramatically reversing course. The announcement of the backdown came late in Bret Baier’s evening news segment on FNC. It was announced without acrimony, and without comment. There was no gloating. But all present with Baier realized its import. That the pliable media, so long in the bag for Obama, saw a bigger issue: the freedom of the press. And they stood firm.

The crisis reached its peak starting two weeks ago after a month of warfare against Fox News. Anita Dunn declared Fox News was “a wing of the Republican Party,” and was “opinion journalism masquerading as journalism.” Finally this past Sunday and Monday, senior White House officials in an unprecedented effort to emasculate a media organization, told the media they should ignore Fox.

From a Fox News report:

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN on Sunday [October 18] that President Obama does not want "the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox." Obama senior adviser David Axelrod went further by calling on media outlets to join the administration in declaring that Fox is "not a news organization. Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way," Axelrod counseled ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "We're not going to treat them that way."

  On Tuesday at a White House press conference, press secretary Gibbs continued the theme started by Emmanuel and Axelrod. But he was challenged by Jake Tapper of ABC News, one of the few willing to directly confront the administration.

It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one …?

Gibbs of course refused to concede Tapper’s point. But then the warfare escalated even further as Obama himself joined the fray in an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. From Fox News:

On Wednesday, Obama, speaking publicly for the first time about his administration's portrayal of Fox News as illegitimate, said he's not "losing sleep" over the controversy. "I think that what our advisers simply said is, is that we are going to take media as it comes," Obama said when asked about his advisers targeting the network openly. "And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that's one thing. And if it's operating as a news outlet, then that's another. But it's not something I'm losing a lot of sleep over."

All of this was not only to marginalize Fox, but to set the stage to ensure the press pool would do the White House’s dirty work to exclude Fox. It didn’t work out that way.

But there is more at play than just Fox. The ACORN story was the first challenge to the media’s blackout strategy that “got legs.” I have written here, here and here about what appears to be a coordinated effort by the major media to deny coverage of stories antithetical to liberal/Democrat interests. Thanks to two young and courageous individuals, Andy Breitbart and Fox News, the media was stung in their attempt to hide the story. And that was in particular Breitbart’s aim.

But an interesting thing is happening. AP did cover the latest O’Keefe/Giles tapes of the Philadelphia ACORN office, as did many metro dailies. AP in particular is now covering stories that were untouchable in the past, as is the Washington Post. Surely the White House is noticing it. And with their thuggish tactics, they are trying intimidate the media back into line.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What happens when utopians fail? … Their best friends turn on them, and that is good.

I was struck by the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson opinion piece today entitled The Biggest Disappointment of the Obama Presidency. In it he berates Obama for giving short shrift to New Orleans when he visited Thursday. Of all the Post’s writers, Robinson has been the most supportive of Obama, seldom finding fault, but this time he skewers him.

President Obama's brief display of drive-by compassion Thursday in New Orleans was, for me, by far the worst outing of his presidency thus far -- and the biggest disappointment. 

I covered Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath -- the flood in New Orleans that drowned a great city, the storm surge in Mississippi that erased whole communities, the devastation, the agony. For weeks afterwards, I had trouble sleeping. I couldn't forget the scenes I'd witnessed or the stories I'd heard. 

More than a year later, I covered a Senate subcommittee hearing in New Orleans on the lagging reconstruction effort. I watched as a young senator who was thought to be considering a presidential run -- that would be Barack Obama -- used his Harvard Law skills to eviscerate Bush-era officials for not doing enough to rebuild and revive the Gulf Coast region. 

So it was strange and disheartening that Obama would wait nine months to make his first visit to New Orleans as president. It was stunning that he would spend only a few hours on the ground and that he wouldn't set foot in Mississippi or Alabama at all. But worst of all was the way he seemed to dismiss the idea that his administration could and should be doing much more.

The problem with utopian leaders or those carrying utopian messages is, once in power, they can never deliver on their promises. When that happens, they are subject to challenge or even ridicule. Holding on to power becomes more important than delivering utopia. So they attempt to silence critics who threaten them. The next phase is assuming total power and controlling all decisions from the top. With the best of intentions, all utopian states or sects devolve into failed enterprises. It has happened in Cuba with the Castros. It happened in the Soviet Union. It happened with Jim Jones’ People’s Temple (Jonestown) and in the innumerable utopian movements of the Burned-over District of New York in the 1800s.

The most important check to keep this from happening is a free and critical press. It is important that Fox and talk radio not lose their voice. But most important is the compliant old media must assume a more active role in critiquing government. Eugene Robinson’s article is an excellent start.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fattening Coca Cola vs. Fattening Orange Juice and the winner is …

Congress will probably pass a tax on sugared drinks as part of the health bill. The rationale is it will reduce caloric intake of “unhealthy” drinks. The real reason is simply to increase taxes, with a believable cover, like all other “sin taxes.”

I decided to do a comparison of Classic Coke to my favorite drink, freshly squeezed Florida orange juice. Well the Coke has 100 calories for an 8 oz. serving and the fresh orange juice a whopping 120. The OJ is probably better for you, but will make you chubbier.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Department of useless information: Lake Lanier is at Full Pool … Global Change is over.

Symbolic of Global Change in the Southeastern US have been the record low levels of Georgia’s Lake Lanier near Atlanta. They were caused by drought conditions that affected northern Georgia and the western Carolinas for the past several years. Lake Lanier is now at “full pool,” a level not seen since September 2005. It dropped to a record low of over 20 feet down in December 2007. And it took two Global Change events to reach Global Normal. They were downpours that caused major flooding in the area three weeks ago and heavy rains over the past three days.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don’t believe the NIE … Iran will have a weapon far sooner, by following the South African model.

Iran most likely will develop a nuclear capability far sooner than the NIE timeline of around 2015 . They will do it because they likely already have the technology and they are in a hurry to close the window of vulnerability from an attack by the West. All they need is sufficient weapons grade uranium.

Iran will probably take the South African approach, where 25 years ago they developed a lightweight gun type weapon for the similar reasons. South Africa needed a weapon soon, not later because of a perceived threat from Soviet backed Cuban forces in nearby Angola. Much of the analysis both classified and from think tanks, mistakenly presupposes Iran will only pursue an implosion device. That’s what most nations would do and are doing. But most nations have different aims; deterrence and massive retaliation if attacked. Numbers of weapons are important. Iran on the other hand is more into terror and nuclear blackmail. For Iran numbers are less important than a credible threat.

There are two roads to nuclear explosives; one, highly enriched uranium (U-235), the other - plutonium. Uranium is the most difficult road, requiring massive centrifuge plants that use large amounts of electricity to concentrate the fissionable isotope U-235 to weapons grade (80-93%). The plants are difficult to hide from prying eyes.

Plutonium on the other hand is naturally produced in power and research reactors and can be extracted easily from spent fuel by simple chemical precipitation. Covert extraction of plutonium is far easier to hide than enriching uranium. Iran is pursuing the more difficult uranium road. North Korea is going for plutonium.

And there are also two roads for weapons design. One is an implosion device (used at Nagasaki) or a gun type (Hiroshima) where two subcritical masses are literally shot into each other to form a critical mass and a nuclear explosion. The former is more efficient and produces a bigger bang. For these reasons, most in the nuclear club have developed only implosion devices. On the other hand, the less efficient gun type device can be developed faster and is easier to design with a very high assurance of success even without testing (the Hiroshima device was never tested before it was used). A limiting factor for gun type weapons is they can not use more easily obtained plutonium, only uranium. But this limitation doesn’t affect Iran, which has begun enriching uranium on a massive scale.

The South African Experience

In the mid 1970’s feeling threatened by Soviet/Cuban intervention in Africa, the South African government started down the road to becoming a nuclear power. Similar to Iran today, they settled on the production of uranium as the fuel and developed a gun type of weapon. Between 1982 and 1989 they completed 6 lightweight (750 kg/1,650 lb) weapons with an estimated yield of 10-18 kt. (Hiroshima was 15 kt.). A seventh was partially completed when the South African government voluntarily made the decision to give up its nuclear aspirations. The weapons were deliverable by either their Buccaneer jet fighter-bombers or locally produced ballistic missiles.

There are serious parallels between Iranian and South African programs. Both use(d) uranium, giving the ability to make either implosion or gun devices. Iran sees time as the enemy, prolonging its window of vulnerability. The question is not whether they will develop the simpler gun type weapon, but why wouldn’t they? They can have their cake and eat it too. While it takes about three times as much uranium for a gun weapon, around 5 years down the road when they have an operational implosion system, they can use the fissile fuel from the earlier weapons for three of the new. It’s win, win.

In addition you can’t ignore the knowledge sharing going on between Iran and North Korea in both nuclear and missile technology. Iranian scientists were present at both N. Korean nuclear tests and most of their missile technology is N. Korean. The Koreans are doing the heavy lifting on implosion devices, but they are stumbling. Their first test was essentially a fizzle (less than 1 kt) and the second most likely only around 4 kt. That shouldn’t give the Iranians a lot of confidence.

No, they will pursue the low tech gun approach for an interim weapon and surprise us.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fox News Special … Awesome Megyn Kelly takedown of Wade Rathke and Acorn

Out of habit I left the family room TV on after last night’s O’Reilly (hosted by Juan Williams) and moved to my den to catch up on happenings from the internet. I could hear but not see the next show which should have been Hannity. But it wasn’t. It was a Megyn Kelly interviewing Wade Rathke, founder and former and chief organizer of ACORN.

My initial impression was this was a very fair and objective interview by Kelly. She took him through his formative years of the radical 60s to the present. As the show went on Kelly, with the help of Stanley Kurtz and others, proceeded to eviscerate Rathke to the point he boiled over. It was devastating to ACORN because it exposed and documented visually their extortion techniques and the hard left political leanings of its founder. But the revelations were only half the story. The special was powerful because it relied heavily, very heavily, on the subtle audio and visual effects pioneered by CBS’s “60 Minutes.” So much so I thought I was listening to Leslie Stahl, not Megyn Kelly, on the voice-over of the historical video clips. Her voice-over had exactly the same cadence and remoteness, while the interview itself carried normal voice animation. The documenting clips started even handedly, but became more pointed as the special went on.

Someone at Fox did his/her homework analyzing the techniques that have made “60 Minutes” so powerful and authoritative. It isn’t just the subtle movement from even-handedness to pointed probing. It’s making the subject react. But the audio is the killer. Watch and listen to the whole show here. Congratulations Fox!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Did Obama bribe Brazil with $2 billion to help put Honduras’s Zelaya back into power?

SEE ADDENDUM BELOW.

Something smells fishy. First the Obama administration announces $2 billion of financial support for Brazil’s offshore drilling efforts. And a month later Brazil spirits legally deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya back into the country, granting him sanctuary in its embassy. Are these two stories related?

First from the Wall Street Journal, August 18, headlined Obama Underwrites Offshore Drilling: The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil's Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan. 

The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas

And from Reuters yesterday, headlined Lula faces criticism in Brazil over Honduras role: BRASILIA, Sept 29 (Reuters) -

Brazil's government is facing growing criticism at home over its handling of the Honduran crisis as senior lawmakers accuse it of allowing the ousted president to use its embassy as a political platform. Manuel Zelaya, who was toppled as Honduran president by a coup on June 28, has set up camp in the Brazilian embassy with dozens of supporters and has given numerous interviews to foreign and domestic media. His surprise return from exile a week ago triggered violent protests in the capital Tegucigalpa and placed Brazil at the center of the Honduran power struggle and an international diplomatic crisis. Government and opposition legislators in Brazil's Congress have urged President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to stop Zelaya from using the embassy as a political theater.

You may remember the leftist Zelaya was removed from power in late June after he ordered a referendum to extend his term beyond its mandated limits. This violated the country’s constitution according to Congress and the Supreme Court which ordered the referendum stopped and Zelaya’s removed from office. It appeared Zelaya was planning a move similar to his mentor, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, to lay the groundwork to be President for life.

President Obama refused to recognize the newly appointed President, urged the UN and OAS members to do the same, refused visas to Hondurans, cut off all foreign aid and would not allow Honduras to be represented at the UN’s opening session this month. It seems curious that just over a month after the $2 billion support for Petrobras offshore venture (Obama supporting offshore drilling???), Brazil spirited Zelaya back into the country (September 21) and its embassy.

Would Obama use $2 billion in bribes to destabilize Honduras and put this thug back in power? You figure.

Addendum:
I am attaching this response to this post from an individual who has been following the Honduran situation closely. The person is not a Honduran, but feels strongly an injustice has occurred at the instigation of the Obama White House and with the complicity of Brazil.

I read your excellent blog and I think there is a very good case to be made that the Obama administration and the Clinton State Department may well have conspired with Brazil to bring about the current crisis situation in Honduras, and they began their efforts before Zelaya was overthrown. I believe this supports your conclusions. The following is a note I wrote to myself on September 23: This article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124619401378065339.html indicates to me that the State Department took Zelaya's side, when Thomas Shannon was still heading up the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department, because the Honduran Congress refused to obey US orders to disregard their own Constitution. Shannon moved on to be Ambassador to Brazil. 

"The Obama administration and members of the Organization of American States had worked for weeks to try to avert any moves to overthrow President Zelaya, said senior U.S. officials. "Washington's ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, sought to facilitate a dialogue between the president's office, the Honduran parliament and the military. "The efforts accelerated over the weekend, as Washington grew increasingly alarmed. "The players decided, in the end, not to listen to our message," said one U.S. official involved in the diplomacy. On Sunday, the U.S. embassy here tried repeatedly to contact the Honduran military directly, but was rebuffed. Washington called the removal of President Zelaya a coup and said it wouldn't recognize any other leader.

"The U.S. stand was unpopular with Honduran deputies. One congressman, Toribio Aguilera, got prolonged applause from his colleagues when he urged the U.S. ambassador to reconsider. Mr. Aguilera said the U.S. didn't understand the danger that Mr. Zelaya and his friendships with Mr. Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro posed." Then, shortly after Zelaya was overthrown, you have a the usual suspects at work: Thomas Shannon, who had been nominated to be the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, and Arturo Valenzuela, nominated to be the new head of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department, and late of Georgetown University, a native Chilean (who I believe holds dual citizenship) who has made it clear that he agrees with Hugo Chavez on many issues and has defended him and his policies publicly on many occasions. 

Shannon's nomination was held up because Senator Jim DeMint was unhappy with the way he had handled the Honduras situation. I think when he got to Brazil, he laid the groundwork for what is happening now, working hand in hand with Valenzuela. "DeMint also said that Shannon, in his State Department post, “has still failed to show a clear understanding of Honduras’s fight to defend democracy. "...When pressed by DeMint about whether Honduras’s military acted to defend the constitution against abuses by Zelaya, Valenzuela said “I don’t want to get into some of the details of this. I’m not familiar myself with all of the details.” 

"DeMint said Valenzuela’s responses were unsatisfactory. “Mr. Valenzuela told me he didn’t even know the facts in Honduras,” DeMint said in the statement today. “Yet, everyday Zelaya’s own statements reveal his true desire to be a Chavez- style dictator advocating violence in order to return to power.” http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=admFvdOL9YY4 See also: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/59515-obama-and-demint-locked-in-proxy-fight-over-chavez 

Now this is from Bloomberg news today, Tuesday: "Honduras’s deposed President Manuel Zelaya probably received help from a South American country to sneak back into Tegucigalpa yesterday, said Carlos Lopez Contreras, Honduras’s interim foreign minister. Zelaya, who appeared unexpectedly at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa yesterday after he was overthrown and expelled in June, probably got into the country in a car that had diplomatic license plates, Contreras said today in a telephone interview. He declined to say which country provided assistance. “He couldn’t have gotten in without logistical and financial support, possibly from a South American country or various South American countries, and without a doubt the cooperation of a Central American country,” Contreras said.

Honduras’s acting President Roberto Micheletti had vowed that Zelaya would be arrested if he set foot in the country, and yesterday decided to no longer recognize the Brazilian mission in Honduras, stripping the building and its occupants of diplomatic protection. Even so, the order to enter the embassy building hasn’t been given, and the interim government is requesting that Brazil hand over Zelaya, Contreras said. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aa_wgg.Bl_LY 

Finally, tonight, during the September 23 local news program "Hoy Mismo" on Honduras Channel 3, a letter was read from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa to the Brazilians asking the Brazilian Embassy to hand over Zelaya to them so he would have "more protection." Lula is in this up to his ears, but wouldn't have been without U.S. encouragement. 

Name withheld by request.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Clark Hoyt, NY Times Public Editor plays toady again … Times just “slow off the mark”

Clark Hoyt, the NY Times Public Editor, covers its lack of reporting of the O’Keefe/Giles Acorn exposé and blames it on being “slow off the mark.” Hoyt was kept on for a year after his two year term expired earlier this year, no doubt by endearing himself to editorial management with soft criticism. He didn't fail them today.

I wrote about Hoyt last year and called him a joke. In the column I pointed out the new bias of the Times is that of burying stories that don’t support the Democrat’s game plan. Read it, it covers some points others haven’t covered. I am sure Hoyt will have a very full inbox tomorrow, especially after saying part of the blame was “insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio.”

But still I sent him a short e-mail. Here it is:

Not convincing.

You failed to mention your paper being "slow off the mark" on the NEA/Sargent story. That's three in this month alone. Well that's not totally true, that broke in early August, but you didn't cover it until mid September. According to Andrew Breitbart, there will be more stories to be "slow off the mark" on. More apologies for you to make. Does the Times still consider itself the Newspaper of Record?

Sad!

Crosby Boyd

With the Times using the phrase “slow off the mark,” the Washington Post (Howard Kurtz) used “lamentably late” to describe the media’s response. Makes you wonder if both papers compared notes before writing their stories.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Smoking out the media --- Breitbart’s real aim is to expose coordinated media blackouts

When the Swiftboat story first surfaced in early August 2004, John Kerry ignored it on the advice of his staff. For that he blames his loss.

Why did his advisors take this tack? Most likely because they had confidence the story would be “ignored” by the old media. And it was. That is until talk radio and Fox news made it an issue. The rest is history.

The new bias of the established media is not the phony story or the coordinated regurgitation of DNC talking points. It is the blackout of major news stories that reflect badly on Democrats. But the curtain of obscurity is being peeled back by Andrew Breitbart. The NEA scandal was exposed by Breitbart’s Big Hollywood website and the more recent ACORN exposé was the blockbuster to launch his Big Government site. But he doesn’t stop there. Breitbart is challenging the old media. He challenged them on September 7, two days before the O’Keefe and Giles tapes were made public. He knew the media would jointly ignore the story. He was setting them up. And they took the bait.

Here is his challenge from the Sept 21 Washington Times (emphasis added), read it all:

Everything you needed to know about the unorthodox roll out of the now-notorious ACORN sting videos was hidden in plain sight in my Sept. 7 column, "Katie Couric, Look in the Mirror."

ACORN was not the only target of those videos; so were Katie, Brian, Charlie and every other mainstream media pooh-bah. They were not going to report this blockbuster unless they were forced to. And they were. What's more, it ain't over yet. Not every hint I dropped in that piece about what was to come has played itself out yet. Stay tuned.

He continues:

Thus was born a multimedia, multiplatform strategy designed to force the reluctant hands of ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post. Videos of five different ACORN offices in five separate cities would be released on five consecutive weekdays over a full week - Baltimore, Washington, New York, San Bernadino and San Diego. By dripping the videos out, we exposed to anyone paying attention that ACORN was lying through its teeth and that the media would look imbecilic continuing to trot out their hapless spokespeople. 

If the media, as expected, pretended that the story didn't exist, they'd have another debacle on their hands comparable to the failure to report the shocking views of the White House's "green jobs czar," Van Jones. If they invested in the story, I told Mr. O'Keefe, they would do ACORN's defense work. I told him the focus needed to be on the message, not the messenger. Otherwise, the mainstream media would attempt to direct attention away from the damaging video evidence.

 The best example of this came from ABC's anchor, Charlie Gibson. "I don't even know about it. So you've got me at a loss," he told WLS radio when asked about it. "But my goodness, if it's got everything, including sleaziness in it, we should talk about it in the morning." But he also said that what was seen on these videos was best left for the "cables."

Is this not malevolent arrogance?

In his September 25 column at wsj.com ever delightful James Taranto takes direct aim at the New York Times for burying news that doesn’t suit its taste. It’s a humorous but stinging rebuke of the Times for its failure to report, entitled ‘Where’s Waldo?’ Journalism. Again, emphasis added.

If you're young enough to have read those "Where's Waldo?" books as a kid, you are well-prepared to read the New York Times. On Wednesday the Times finally took note of the NEA scandal, in a story of slightly over 350 words that appeared on page 21: “The White House on Tuesday instructed government agencies to keep politics away from the awarding of federal grants, a step taken as the administration sought to minimize the fallout after an official at the National Endowment for the Arts urged artists to advance President Obama's agenda.” 

“The new guidelines were issued at a meeting between White House officials and chiefs of staff across the executive branch, following the disclosure of a conference call last month in which artists were asked to work with the Corporation for Public Service to promote Mr. Obama's health care, education and environmental proposals.”

This is the first time the paper has mentioned the scandal, first reported 29 days earlier on Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood and 22 days earlier by Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck. This follows the same pattern as the Times's coverage of the Van Jones and Acorn scandals, both of which the paper did not mention at all until the Obama administration had taken some remedial action, and then reported only in brief stories on inside pages (though in fairness, a full-length front-page story about Jones's hypovehiculation appeared on the second day). Trying to find information about the Obama scandals in the Times can be a fun challenge, just like the "Where's Waldo?" books. But if your taste in puzzles runs more to crosswords or sudoku and you want the news delivered straight, there are plenty of better sources.

Howard Kurtz, media critic at the Washington Post attempts to marginalize the O’Keefe/Giles ACORN story by questioning whether it is journalism. In a column called Guerrilla Journalism he demeans the piece, calling it unbalanced. What he misses is the fact it was news and the Post failed to report it for over a week. Sorry Howard, that won’t work. I responded with a comment which I will share here (minor corrections made):

Whether the O'Keefe/Giles ACORN story was journalism or not, it was valid news. And most of the media ignored it. The Post ignored it, the NY Times ignored it, the LA Times ignored it, the Chicago Tribune ignored it. And Breitbart knew all of you would ignore it. That was the setup. In a Washington Times column he said the media was also the target and that’s why the tapes ran on 5 consecutive weekdays. He knew the story would be red hot before the media (other than Fox) would touch it. The first tape ran Wednesday, 9/9, and the last Tuesday 9/15. By Saturday 9/12, the Senate had defunded ACORN in one appropriations bill. Now that was in your backyard and it WAS news. The Post didn’t touch the story until it was 9 days old. Now that’s not good journalism.

Why did he think you wouldn’t cover it? Well, you didn’t cover the NEA/Sargent story which was and still is valid news. You didn’t cover the Edwards/Rielle Hunter story last year. Not even a mention of it until the National Enquirer blew it wide open and he dropped out of the race. He was a legitimate contender for the VP slot according to the pundits and the Vegas odds at the time. Non-liberals question why stories embarrassing to Democrats seem to be blacked out in the old media. I wonder too. Breitbart wondered but structured a blockbuster story to smoke the media out. He succeeded. That’s the real story.

It’s time for the old media to mend their ways. They have alienated half their audience, yet they wonder why Fox News ratings are skyrocketing and network news is tanking. They wonder why they can’t sell papers.

Integrity sells papers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

White House Counsel Greg Craig to get the axe --- for his ineptness on Guantanamo

The Washington Post reports today that Greg Craig has been replaced as the point man on Guantanamo and will likely leave the White House. The story places the blame for crafting the Guantanamo strategy for a date certain shutdown, of convincing The One of its wisdom and the failure to follow through, squarely on Craig’s shoulders. It hinted that Obama may now, not be able to meet his January 22 deadline.

With four months left to meet its self-imposed deadline for closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Obama administration is working to recover from missteps that have put officials behind schedule and left them struggling to win the cooperation of Congress. Even before the inauguration, President Obama's top advisers settled on a course of action they were counseled against: announcing that they would close the facility within one year. Today, officials are acknowledging that they will be hard-pressed to meet that goal.

After blaming the Bush administration in March for not having detainee files in one place (a normal procedure so codeword intelligence files at CIA or NSA are not comingled with unclassified files at Justice and accessible to uncleared personnel), the White House added more cooks to stir the pot.

In May, one of the senior officials said, Obama tapped Pete Rouse -- a top adviser and former congressional aide who is not an expert on national security but is often called in to fix significant problems -- to oversee the process. Senior adviser David Axelrod and deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer were brought in to craft a more effective message around detainee policy, the official said.

After publicly playing the blame game on the files six months ago, it appears the dysfunctional White House is just getting around to reviewing them. The Post drops this little gem at the end of the story

In coming weeks, officials say, they expect to complete the initial review of all the files of those held at Guantanamo Bay.

Buh-bye Greg.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A damaging poll confirms the obvious … 8 out of 10 don’t want taxpayers bailing out newspapers

Editor and Publisher reported on a study conducted by Sacred Heart University that came to that conclusion.

Nearly 8 out of 10 Americans would oppose any plan to spend tax dollars to aid failing newspapers, according to a poll on news media trustworthiness released Wednesday. That reluctance might have something to do with the fact that 38.1% of respondents to the poll by Sacred Heart University said they are reading newspapers less often than five years ago. Or the fact that nearly half, 45%, said they think the Internet is "adequately covering for failing newspapers." Just 35.6% disagreed with that statement.

It continues:

[T]he poll found Americans do not believe they are getting "good journalism." Just under 68% of respondents agreement with this statement: "Old-style, traditionally objective and fair journalism is dead." Just 26.5% disagreed, while 5.6% were unsure. Much of Sacred Heart poll concerns mainstream television news, which respondents clearly view with jaundiced eyes. Fully 83.6% said national news media organizations were very or somewhat biased while just 14.1% viewed them as somewhat unbiased or not at all biased.

President Obama in a recent statement said he might support efforts to help bailout newspapers. While the comment to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette may be more about relaxing anti-trust enforcement of newspapers in their attempts to come up with a common policy to charge for internet access, it raises the specter of direct government support for failing newspapers. A new buzz word is developing in Washington and it is “Public Media.”

It is being promoted by the liberal Free Press organization and mentioned also by Michael Copps, a long term Democrat FCC Commissioner. The thought of the NY Times converting itself into a non-profit National Public Newspaper, living off the public dole with Pinch Sulzberger in control, is enough to send chills down my spine.

Addendum: The Sacred Heart poll story was one of three featured stories on E&P’s home page as I began writing this post. Normally as new stories replace the old ones on the E&P site, the linked headline drops into box entitled “More Headlines.”

All references to this story have now been scrubbed from the homepage. If you read the entire story you will see why. It is extremely damaging. The story is still available through a search of E&P’s site, but in case it is scrubbed or altered, I have saved a copy.

Gates fails to mention one little fact … by killing the Missile Shield, he makes the US vulnerable

Last Sunday SecDef Robert Gates wrote an Op-Ed in the NY Times that was not only deceptive, but avoided the main point. What he missed telling us is the European Missile Shield (Ground-based Mid-course Defense - GMD) is primarily a system to defend the US from ICBMs, with a secondary capability to defend the northern and central portions of Europe. By killing it he has killed our ability to stop US bound missiles from Iran.

Early in his article Gates makes a statement that is totally misleading. In it he claims the original system would not be ready until 2015. That’s simply not true.

In December 2006, just days after becoming secretary of defense, I recommended to President George W. Bush that the United States place 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and an advanced radar in the Czech Republic....
That plan would have put the radar and interceptors in Central Europe by 2015 at the earliest. Delays in the Polish and Czech ratification process extended that schedule by at least two years. Which is to say, under the previous program, there would have been no missile-defense system able to protect against Iranian missiles until at least 2017 — and likely much later. ( emphasis added)

This is deceptively parsed wording. While true in 2006, shortly after, the original plan was superseded by a well funded accelerated one that moved the date up by two years to 2013. This from a recent Congressional Research Study of June 2009: The system would include 10 interceptors in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic, and another radar deployed in a country closer to Iran, all to be completed by 2013 at a reported cost of at least $4 billion. ( emphasis added)  

He goes on to put up a straw man, implying this is only about defending Europe.

Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting what we are doing.

 From a look at the graphic, you can see why the Polish missile base is sited where it is. It is almost on a direct line (white line) between the Iranian missile test site (and likely operational site) near Semnan and prime targets Washington DC or New York. It also demonstrates graphically that the interceptors are more about downing missiles aimed at the US than Europe.

Ground-based Mid-course Defense has always been a strategic system, designed from the start to destroy reentry vehicles of high speed, high altitude intercontinental missiles. But it does have a capability to defend major portions of Europe. The Aegis/SM-3 is a wonderful system and a proven one. But it has a limited footprint. And it can’t defend the US from Europe. What is maddening, is after spending hundreds of billions on R&D for GMD, we are killing it in Europe because we don’t want to spend the final 4 billion. It’s like stopping ten feet short of the finish line. What also bothers me is Gates has always been a straight shooter. But he has learned the Democratic Party’s Doublethink. “Less is more” just doesn’t cut it for the rest of us.

Addendum: My next post will be about is how and why Iran will surprise us by developing a lightweight nuclear missile warhead that the North Koreans can’t. And it won’t be a fizzle.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Deep Question

Overturning Cuba Travel Ban May Pass House This Year, Farr Says From a Bloomberg News story. If we drop our ban on travel, will the Cubans do the same?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Some thoughts on James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles

To me there have been three defining moments in the fight against the incredible leftist bias of the old media. They are the Tailwind (Vietnam War, nerve gas) story by Peter Arnett, Rathergate, and the recent ACORN exposé. Looking at the past twenty years, media bias has revealed itself as blatantly one sided coverage and often, outright false stories. It has now morphed into the blackout of stories that challenge their leftist ideals and idols.

It is inconceivable that the ACORN sting could have been totally ignored by the old media without some sort of coordination. It was too hot a story. Likewise it is inconceivable that the Van Jones story could have gone unreported for the same reasons. The old media has egg on its face, but instead of conducting introspection, they minimize the stories and call them smear jobs.

The first defining moment in exposong media corruption was the Tailwind scandal (June 1998) that was perpetrated by CNN correspondent Peter Arnett, a hard anti-war leftist, who gained his reputation in the Vietnam War and the first Gulf War. His contention was, during an operation into Laos in 1970, sarin nerve gas was used to kill a group of US defectors. The story ran on CNN and in Time magazine and was strongly challenged by the Pentagon which determined the nerve gas claims were false.

CNN conducted its own after the fact investigation and found the story flawed. They publicly retracted it less than a month after it ran. Two producers were fired, one resigned and Peter Arnett stayed on until his contract expired a year and a half later, but never appeared on the air for CNN after the investigation.

Much of the internal pressure for a review came from the Time folks who had felt pressured into carrying the CNN produced story. It was a victory for openness and the few journalists at Time Warner with integrity.

Significance: Tailwind was the first major left wing agenda story that was publicly debunked and had consequences for the participants. Most of the prior journalism scandals were by writers falsifying stories to enhance their own reputations such as Janet Cooke - Washington Post, Stephen Glass - New Republic and Mike Barnicle - Boston Globe.

The second defining moment was Rathergate. Most are familiar with Rathergate, a story designed to damage George W. Bush during his 2004 reelection campaign. It ended as a victory for citizen journalists, an outcome totally unexpected by the media establishment. The old media gave the controversy scant attention. The NY Times covered this, the greatest American media scandal, as if New York based CBS News was in another country. They used primarily wire service copy and an occasional story by art critic Frank Rich.

The Washington Post used media critic Howard Kurtz and of all the networks, only ABC gave reasonable coverage. The rest ignored it. For over two weeks Dan Rather stood by his story, including the demonstrably false claim of an unbroken chain of custody of the Killian documents.

Finally CBS set up an independent review panel which declared the story shouldn’t have run. Dan Rather was pulled out of his anchor chair precisely 26 weeks after his phony report and then put out to pasture as a 60 Minutes correspondent for the remaining year on his contract. His contract wasn’t renewed.

Significance: Rathergate was the first time bloggers, exhibiting far more expertise than the network’s “fact checkers,” were able document the falsehoods of a major story and see the perpetrators suffer the consequences. They did it by giving the story legs in the established media and engendered a need by Viacom/CBS to clear its reputation.

Now come James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, “twentysomething” college students whose conservative principles led them to conduct an audacious sting operation against ACORN. This organization has avoided scrutiny for years despite voter fraud allegations, intimidation of financial institutions and participating in race hustling. They are protected by a willing media and the Democrat establishment who want to see no evil.

Last year, during the Presidential campaign, the NY Times dragged its feet when they were handed incriminating evidence of the Obama campaign working with ACORN on a money laundering scheme to funnel contributions of maxed out Democrats back to the campaign. THey never ran the story. That’s how well protected the Democrats' surrogates are.

The result of O'Keefe's and Giles' efforts: 5 video tapes showing ACORN employees aiding and abetting underage prostitution, tax cheating, and attempting to aid in illegal immigration of underage prostitutes. The story burned up the internet, but for a week there was nothing from the old media. Charles Gibson of ABC News claimed to know nothing of the story and the vaunted Times had printed nothing by the time the Census Department severed its ties with ACORN and the Senate had voted to defund them. In 7 days of new media reporting (Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government blog and Fox/Glenn Beck), the world knew more about the corruption of ACORN than from years of old media reporting.

The significance of O’Keefe and Giles was their story and its influence reached the highest levels of government without any old media support. These amateur videographers did what no others had done, expose the corruption of ACORN through investigative journalism. And they revealed the utter corruption of the old media in their attempt to hide the story.

Congratulations James and Hannah.

Jimmy Carter, this is what people think of you.

It took 12 years for the Democrat party to recover from your 4 years. The map is what people think of you. Race baiting won't improve this picture.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Can we believe Democrats are severing ties with ACORN? … It’s a sham, ACORN isn’t ACORN anymore

Over the weekend the White House announced the Census Department is severing all ties with ACORN, the discredited organization that is under investigation for voter fraud in 14 states and recently the subject of a media sting by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government blog and reported by Glenn Beck. Additionally The Senate has voted to drop all funding to ACORN from the Transportation Appropriations bill. All but 6 Democrats and one Republican supported the measure.

It all seems too good to be true. And when it comes to Democrats reaching across the aisle, it probably is. You have to understand ACORN is where President Obama got his start. He represented them in court. He is joined at the hip to them. They have been the recipients of mega dollars of government largesse, courtesy of Democrats. It is simply out of character for them to cave so easily. The dirty little secret is ACORN is changing its name. In a June 21 Washington Examiner interview with Marcel Reid, a dissident ACORN whistle blower, the name is being changed to Community Organizations International.

“We’ve known for many months now that the name ACORN is going to be retired,” [Marcel] Reid said. “The name has been so damaged to the point where the leadership knows it simply can’t go on as it has with the ACORN label out front and center, especially after all of the reporting.” In fact, the process has already begun, she noted. Wade Rathke, who founded the organization, announced on his blog that ACORN International has officially changed its name to “Community Organizations International.”

 So all the posturing by the White House and Senate Democrats is a sham. Republicans, make sure you add the term “and successor organizations” to any restrictions against ACORN. You’ve been had!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Impossible Sailboats 2

Following our visit to Maine, Julie and I visited another Sanibel friend who has a “camp” in the Adirondacks (NY) on St. Regis and Spitfire Lakes. Sailboat racing is the central focus of the St. Regis YC and its premiere class is the Idem. Idems are gaff rigged lightweight 32 foot centerboarders. There are only 12 of them and all, except one, were built between 1900 and 1902. Class rules allow only cotton sails. Idem is the Latin word for same and used to describe this one-design class. They bear a faint resemblance to the later inland scow classes popular primarily in Wisconsin and Minnesota. A dedicated group of owners keeps this class alive despite the exorbitant costs and difficulties of maintaining a hundred year old wood boat in racing condition. Here are some photos of the race last Thursday. Nine of the twelve boats participated.

Impossible Sailboats 1

During my “vacation” travels Julie and I visited with our Sanibel friends who summer in Maine. They live in a coastal community just north of Camden and and are active sailors. The coastal area of Maine produces some of the finest and most unusual sailboats in the world. These include the 155 foot Scheherazade, and the 124 foot Antonisa.

But what caught my attention was a daysailer tied to a floating dock in Rockport harbor. It evoked the same emotions as my first close up look at a Ferrari when I was 17 years old. Here was a sailboat designed for high performance and built to impeccable yacht standards. It is a boat that would turn heads at any yacht club in the world. It is the Ginger, a 50 footer designed to be handled by as many as 3, but easily sailed singlehanded. Just as the Ferrari of my youth had no heater or roll down windows, Ginger has no lifelines to clutter its sleek lines nor does it have roller furling, just a racing foil on its forestay. Compromises to performance are only to improve its “yachtiness,” such as the teak decks. Ginger is the product of its imaginative owner and the Brooklin Boat Yard, Brooklin Maine.

Dueling GPSs

I have been on a trip visiting friends my wife Julie and I have wanted to see, but never had the time. Our previous retirement “vacations” have been to see things or do things. Some of the friends are long lost school mates, friends from the Washington, DC area where we lived for many years, relatives and our dispersed children and their families. It will be an 18 day, 4,700 mile trip by the time we finish next Thursday.

To ensure we arrived where we wanted to go, when we wanted to be there, we equipped ourselves with two GPSs (one a built-in, another, a portable Magellan), as well as Mapquest printouts for each leg. A bit of overkill, but we have been very, very lost on past trips.

The multiple voices guiding us often have given conflicting instructions with one more insistent than the other. Julie named the shrillest Maggie Magellan, but as the trip progressed she became Naggy Maggie. Generally we used Mapquest as the tie breaker, but the calmer sultry voice of the built-in often had me giving preference to her. To counter that, Julie turned the volume down from Naggy Maggie and substituted her own even more sultry voice. Calm, sultry, reassuring female voices always win. In general the Magellan gave the best directions for routes we are familiar with. It, like Mapquest, can be adjusted in advance to follow a preferred route or freeway exits. Possibly there is a way to do it with the built-in (Toyota Prius) but I couldn’t find it. It would give 3 choices (two fastest and the shortest). Estimated Time Enroute also is vastly different for the three systems, with the Prius’s giving the highest time allowance for “pit stops.” The Magellan has been closest to uninterrupted driving time and Mapquest in between, but closer to the Magellan.

As our travels went on, we adjusted to the difference. In one case, the Prius system did not have the ten miles of public roads plotted leading to a community on Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. Fortunately both of the others did. But with freeway driving, it has extremely helpful split screen displays to aid in making the correct turn at the right time. So it is upward and onward with three young ladies guiding me. Life can’t get any better.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mystery Art

Seen at Niagara Falls, Ontario in front of a Korean restaurant.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Huey … another time, another war

Early today Sanibel sounded a bit like Vietnam in the late sixties. It was the nostalgic lub-dup-dup-dup sound of a Huey maneuvering at low altitude. Nothing else makes that noise. The Lee County Mosquito Control District has five Hueys (UH-1E) in its inventory, as well as 5 ancient C-47s to now wage war against mosquitoes, not Charlie. While the LCMCD has a number of quiet, vibration free and air conditioned Jet Rangers, the preferred delivery system remains the Huey. It can carry 300 gallons of liquids, the Jet Ranger only 90. The greatest saving is the time and fuel spent ferrying back and forth to replenish the delivery tanks. The Huey was a breakthrough helicopter with its lightweight gas turbine engine when it entered service in the late ‘50s. It’s great to see it still in operation.