Archive for the 'The Press' Category
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 1st November 2013 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
Today, Belmont club has a post, with a link to another blog post, that I think explain a lot of the Obamacare fiasco.
Fernandez begins with a discussion of Obama’s technique with favored columnists.
get him in an off-the-record setting with a small group of opinion columnists — the David Brooks and E.J. Dionne types — and he’ll talk for hours. …
“It’s not an accident who he invites: He reads the people that he thinks matter, and he really likes engaging those people,” said one reporter with knowledge of the meetings. “He reads people carefully — he has a columnist mentality — and he wants to win columnists over,” said another. …
These people are, like him, unsophisticated in technology. They are lawyers or journalists and the numbers of math and science courses represented in the room are few.
The other blog post is titled “Government is magic.”
Our technocracy is detached from competence. It’s not the technocracy of engineers, but of “thinkers” who read Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Friedman and watch TED talks and savor the flavor of competence, without ever imbibing its substance.
These are the people who love Freakonomics, who enjoy all sorts of mental puzzles, who like to see an idea turned on its head, but who couldn’t fix a toaster.
This strikes me as a huge insight into why this administration doesn’t understand the trouble it is in.
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Posted in Big Government, Chicagoania, Education, Health Care, Human Behavior, Management, Politics, The Press | 14 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 26th October 2013 (All posts by David Foster)
The Prime Ministership of Neville Chamberlain is closely associated with the word “appeasement.” The policy of appeasement followed by Britain in the late 1930s is generally viewed as a matter of foreign policy–the willingness to allow Germany’s absorption of other countries, first Austria and then Czechoslovakia, in the desperate but misguided hope of avoiding another war.
But appeasement also had domestic as well as foreign policy aspects. In a post several years ago, I quoted Winston Churchill, who spoke of the “unendurable..sense of our country falling into the power, into the orbit and influence of Nazi Germany, and of our existence becoming dependent upon their good will or pleasure…In a very few years, perhaps in a very few months, we shall be confronted with demands” which “may affect the surrender of territory or the surrender of liberty.” A “policy of submission” would entail “restrictions” upon freedom of speech and the press. Indeed, I hear it said sometimes now that we cannot allow the Nazi system of dictatorship to be criticized by ordinary, common English politicians.”
Churchill’s concern was not just a theoretical one. Following the German takeover of Czechoslovakia, photographs were available showing the plight of Czech Jews, dispossessed by the Nazis and wandering the roads of eastern Europe. Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The Times, refused to run any of them: it wouldn’t help the victims, he told his staff, and if they were published, Hitler would be offended.
I’ve just finished reading Niall Ferguson’s War of the World, and this book contains much more information about appeasement in British domestic society and politics. Some excerpts:
(Times Berlin correspondent Normal Ebbut) wrote regularly on…the (Nazi) regime’s persecution of Protestant churches. As early as November 1934, he was moved to protest about editorial interference with his copy, giving twelve examples of how his stories had been cut to remove critical references to the Nazi regime.
The Times was far from unique in its soft-soap coverage of Germany. Following his visit in 1937, Halifax lobbied near all the leading newspaper proprietors to tone down their coverage of Germany…The government succeeded in pressuring the BBC into avoiding ‘controversy’ in its coverage of European affairs…Lord Reith, the Director-General of the BBC, told Ribbentrop ‘to tell Hitler that the BBC was not anti-Nazi’…Pressure to toe the line was even stronger in the House of Commons. Conservative MPs who ventured to criticize Chamberlain were swiftly chastised by the whips or their local party associations.
At around the time of the Abyssinian crisis, the historian A L Rowse–who was just thirty-four at the time of Munich-recalled a walk with (Times publisher Dawson) along the towpath to Iffley, in the course of which he warned the older man: ‘It is the Germans who are so powerful as to threaten the rest of us together.’ Dawson’s reply was revealing: ‘To take your argument on its own valuation–mind you, I’m not saying I agree with it–but if the Germans are as powerful as you say, oughtn’t we to go in with them?
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Posted in Book Notes, Britain, Civil Liberties, Europe, Germany, Islam, Leftism, Terrorism, The Press, USA | 27 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 23rd October 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
You know, the last eight years or so have educated me – at least socially and politically – as much as the eight years that I spent in high school, college and the first year in the military ever did. Who says you stop intellectually developing after your mid-forties? I suppose the most-eye-opening development is that I have now seen for real and in real-time that which I had only read about in history books; mainly the development, perpetuation, care and feeding of “The Big Lie.” As defined by the erratic but invaluable Wikipedia, that is “a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”
But the ‘big lie’ has worked, over and over again – and most especially and effectively when it is chorused from every corner and by every authority. The latest example and the one which I find most personally outrageous is this one; (found through Legal Insurrection at the National Review); one Alan Grayson, a Democrat member of the House of Representatives has sent out an email to his supporters casually equating the Tea Party with the KKK. As a southern Democrat, Rep. Grayson is, of course, an expert on the KKK, seeing that they served as the shock troops of Southern Democrats. Other leading Democrat Party figures have passed remarks just as disparaging of the Tea Party; I suspect that they are actually mistaking the straw-man Tea Party construction of their own mind, rather than the earnest, hardworking and mostly middle-class fans of fiscally-responsible, strict Constitutionalist and free-market policies which made up most of the Tea Party members I am acquainted with. How such a body of people can be made out to be the sinister Goldsteins and calumniated with such vicious enthusiasm, solo and chorus is almost beyond belief – but they are, and it is only getting worse.
A good portion of the citizens of the United States are being ‘othered’ by those who disagree with them politically and philosophically – and by people you would have thought would know better. The establishment media and pop-culture organs are aiding and abetting this, not realizing that it is only a short step from ‘othering’ to declaring open season – literally. The next step is already being contemplated, although it is hard to tell how seriously the petition to arrest and try the leaders of the Republican Party for sedition, merely for having had the temerity to oppose the current administration. There is something bad in the water, when being in political opposition is considered ground for criminal charges. The comments appended to this story, and this one are dispiriting to read, for too many commenters voice enthusiastic agreement and approval. To be fair, a good few commenters warned against this criminalization of political dissent – since the sauce for the Tea Party goose might just as easily be served up with the progressive gander. Taken all together, this does not augur well and it certainly heats up the cold civil war a couple of more degrees.
Posted in Americas, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Conservatism, Just Unbelievable, Obama, Politics, Society, Tea Party, The Press | 27 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 16th August 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
(Sorry, no history post today – just too much going on and I am too steamed about this particular First Amendment issue. It seems that in the eyes of certain parties, our current president may not be mocked by the peasants.)
That useful concept (thank you, the French language for putting it so succinctly!) is defined “as an offense that violates the dignity of a ruler” or “an attack on any custom, institution, belief, etc., held sacred or revered by numbers of people.”Well, it appears that our very dear current occupant of the White House is certainly held sacred by a substantial percentage of our fellow citizens. How else to account for the perfectly earsplitting howling from Missouri Democrats and the usual suspects over a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask to yuck it up before the crowd – most of whom seem to be laughing their heads off. All but the desperately sensitive, who breathlessly insisted that it was just like a KKK rally, practically. The rodeo clown’s name apparently is Tuffy Gessling; his supporters, and those who, as a matter of fact, support the rights of a free citizen to mock authority figures of every color and persuasion, have set up a Facebook page. He’s also been invited by a Texas congressman to come and perform the skit at a rodeo in Texas.
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Posted in Civil Society, Conservatism, Diversions, Humor, Just Unbelievable, North America, Obama, Politics, Society, Tea Party, That's NOT Funny, The Press, USA | 11 Comments »
Posted by Carl from Chicago on 15th July 2013 (All posts by Carl from Chicago)
I recently watched the excellent “Frontline” documentary “Two American Families” which followed two families from 1992 onward in Milwaukee as they struggled to stay middle class. The movie started with the main breadwinners in each family losing solid middle class union jobs and then starting an odyssey of lower wage jobs with no benefits, often during non-standard hours (the night shift).
While the families struggled, I actually was more interested in their children than the parents who were ostensibly the “stars” of the film. As the parents worked (both parents had to join the work force to make up for the lost wages) the children (three from one family, five from the second family) had to look after themselves since they were often left home alone after school.
While in New York City on the subway I came across these billboards which warned (potential?) single mothers very directly that if they had a child out of wedlock they faced a high chance of being a single mother and in poverty. The sign I saw had the quote:
If you finish high school, get a job, and get married before having children, you have a 98 percent chance of not being in poverty
From the results of the documentary, one of the children finished a four year college, and he appeared to be the most successful of the 8 kids they followed up on. Earlier in the documentary they showed him (his name was Keith) in college, struggling to get by and pay tuition bills on a credit card. Keith was not married and did not have children and in interviews stated pretty flatly that he didn’t want to get married and have a child until he was ready to support them. A second child went into the navy and was there for many years, before leaving and then re-enlisting as a private contractor in Afghanistan since he couldn’t find work in Milwaukee. A third kid (a woman) got an associates degree and (miraculously) did not get pregnant, and she was doing OK as a medical biller at a hospital in Milwaukee.
The other children didn’t seem to graduate high school or did and then didn’t go to college. Many of them had multiple children themselves (without getting married) from a variety of different partners. One of them was married (the girl who got an associates’ degree) but she was married to a guy who was out of work.
Each of these children, who were the real legacy of the troubles cited in the documentary, fell right into that concept that if you finish high school, get a job, and get married, you won’t live in poverty. One slight “tweak” to this rule might be to marry a spouse who works themselves or has some capacity to be a positive parent; some of the partners were obviously sulking or already disgruntled at an early age. Nowhere in the documentary did they directly point this out, although it was the central lesson from the film.
Cross posted at LITGM
Posted in Economics & Finance, Education, Morality and Philosphy, The Press | 9 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 21st May 2013 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
Over the week end of May 18-19 2013 the Obama Administration official Dan Pfeiffer went out and spun the IRS scandal saying “The law is irrelevant”. On the contrary, the law is very much relevant to the IRS scandal, including prohibitions against specific acts by IRS personnel and more general laws of which the ones to watch concern private civil actions for damages under the federal Racketeering, Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act (18 USC 1961, et seq.) and Civil Rights Act (42 USC 1983, et seq.). There is every possibility that the victims of the IRS’s suppression of Obama political opponent free speech rights will sue the IRS and individual IRS employees under the civil rights and civil RICO laws for a $150-to-$650 million legal payday.
Remember, _THE IRS CONFESSED_. There is no argument that it admitted some of its actions concerning Tea Party organization tax-exempt applications were unlawful, i.e.., illegal. It is obvious that the IRS and its staff engaged in an organized multi-work unit, multi-state, plus Washington DC Headquarters, wide conspiracy to suppress the Tea Party. The IRS unlawfully applied special rules to Tea Party applicants that it did not to others and that conspiracy prevented them from exercising their free speech rights for the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.
It also is very clear that the IRS — via the questions it was asking the Tea Party and other religious non-profits — was busy creating a quite extensive Nixonian/Ailinskyite ENEMIES LIST for future use in intimidation and the depriving Obama Administration political opponents of their Constitutional Rights.
Those are classic CONSPIRACY AGAINST RIGHTS (18 USC 241) and DEPRIVATION RIGHTS UNDER COLOR OF LAW (18 USC 242) violations.
See these criminal federal civil rights statutes, whose violation gives rise to civil liability for damages too:
“Conspiracy Against Rights (18 USC 241)
If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or
If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—
They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”
“Deprivation Rights Under Color of Law (18 USC 242)
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;
and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.”
That is the criminal side of things.
The problem AG Holder is going to suffer obstructing discovery in civil rights and civil RICO lawsuits against the IRS is that criminal prosecutions and civil suits for damages proceed in tandem. The civil suits aren’t stayed by criminal prosecutions on the same subject, let alone by criminal “investigations” short of prosecutions.
The IRS “Special Group’s” delay of tax exempt status prevented Tea Party NGO’s from fund raising and participating in two political cycles (2010 and 2012) by educating “low information voters” as to the political issues of the day, like the National Rifle Association does. The NGO’s whose applications for tax-exempt status were slow-rolled can claim “trade and business” damages under Civil RICO provisions of Federal law. And the Supreme Court of the USA decided decades ago that criminal acts by the Federal government “under the color of law” do not qualify for sovereign immunity under the Federal supremacy clause of the constitution.
To quote a lawyer I know –
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Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Crime and Punishment, Current Events, Elections, Health Care, Law Enforcement, Obama, Politics, Tea Party, The Press, Uncategorized | 24 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 15th May 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
And so it begins; at first a trickle of rocks falling down a steep mountainside; then more and bigger rocks, and then half the mountainside comes away and falls away in a mighty roar, the earth trembles, and White House spokes-minion Jay Carney is probably looking around desperately trying to figure out what hit him. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Conservatism, Leftism, Obama, Taxes, Tea Party, The Press, USA | 21 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 21st January 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
I have noted recent news reports decrying incidents of Sandy Hook trutherism with a certain degree of cynical un-surprise. This then, is the fruit of modern journalism; now we have news consumers who are absolutely convinced that the mass murders either didn’t happen, didn’t happen as most reports have it, or believe that it was a put-up job entirely. Of course there have been conspiracy buffs since human history began; wherever there was a tragic or shocking event there have always been unexplained details, dangling loose ends and things which just seemed to convenient, too coincidental for some observers. Supposing the existence of a conspiracy explains shattering and usually random events all very neatly, which is why people are attracted to conspiracy theories in the first place. Since I was in grade school, I’ve been hearing about the plot, or plots which supposedly took down JFK. It’s to the point where I can paint myself as a radical just by insisting that Oswald was a lone radical nut-case and no, it wasn’t that hard a shot. And sometimes suspicion of a conspiracy has been very well based; look at the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
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Posted in Civil Society, Human Behavior, Media, Military Affairs, Miscellaneous, Tea Party, The Press, USA | 18 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 4th January 2013 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
It’s been most unsettling, over the last month or so, watching as the ship of state powers straight towards the reefs of financial meltdown, while the Dems and Pubs – establishment ruling class, with just about every one of them grubbing snout deep in the trough – do nothing much but squabble over the arrangement of the deck chairs, and figure out how to be the first one into the purser’s office to loot the safe. And if that wasn’t bad enough to put a dent in my enjoyment of the season: the Newton massacre of school children, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the murders in my own neighborhood, the fact that a basically decent and widely experienced candidate could be defeated in a national election by a legislatively untalented and inexperienced machine hack … all of this was depressing in itself. And don’t get me started on the State Department and the Mysteries of Benghazi. But when a credentialed spawn of academia is given op-ed space in the so-called paper of record to call for deep-sixing the Constitution as an outdated and discredited piece of paper, network television personalities can hector and abuse interviewees with regard to the Second Amendment of same, and an editorialist in a mid-western newspaper (who may be exaggerating for humorous effect, not that he would have a micro-speck slack cut for him if he were a conservative ripping on progressives by name) can call for the torture and execution of those not in agreement on a particular matter, and some fairly senior military commanders can be abruptly side-lined and discredited for playing hide-the-salami (or being assumed to have been playing hide the salami) with a woman not their spouse … well, really, one has to wonder what has been happening here. The ‘othering’ proceeds at a perfectly dismaying rate of speed, with mainstream media and assorted celebs cheerleading from front and center.
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Posted in Americas, Conservatism, Deep Thoughts, Human Behavior, National Security, North America, That's NOT Funny, The Press | 19 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 21st December 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.
The English visitor, a lawyer and pamphleteer named Nicholas Doran Maillard landed up in Texas early in 1840, when the Republic of Texas had just achieved four years of perilous existence . . . and inadvertently provided the means for an exception to Humbert Wolfe’s stinging epigram. In that year, Texas was perennially cash-broke but land rich, somewhat quarrelsome, and continually scourged by Comanche depredations from the north and west, and the threat of re-occupation by Mexico from the south. Texans had first seen immediate annexation by the United States as their sure and certain refuge. But alas, that slavery was permitted and practiced within Texas – so and annexation was blocked by abolitionists.
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Posted in Americas, Anglosphere, Diversions, History, The Press, Uncategorized | Comments Off
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 31st October 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
So a few days to go until Election Day; I guess we can call this the final heat. Texas is pretty much a red state stronghold, although there are pockets of blue adherents throughout. Yes, even in my neighborhood, there are a handful of defiant Obama-Biden yard signs visible, although outnumbered at least three to one by Romney-Ryan signs. It amounts to about three or four dozen, all told; I think that most of my neighbors prefer keeping their political preferences this time around strictly to themselves.
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Posted in Americas, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Leftism, Obama, Politics, Predictions, Tea Party, The Press, USA | 6 Comments »
Posted by Trent Telenko on 17th October 2012 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
Presidential debates are public demonstrations of leadership ability, not policy, and are THE place where the arguable majority of voters who rely on “non-verbal intelligence” decide who to vote for. The more PRESIDENTIAL a candidate looks, the better he does. If you want to understand what “non-verbal intelligence” voters responds to in a debate, watch it with the sound off and take notes.
The following are my impressions from doing just that.
1. Obama did better, Romney scored points, Crowley cut off both Romney’s Fast and Furious and Benghazi responses. Crowley gave the impression she was a debate participant supporting Obama, rather than a moderator. This diminished Obama, in terms of the non-verbals, by making him seem less PRESIDENTIAL.
2. There were several Bush-Gore 2000 like moments of confrontation between Romney and Obama.
3. Romney’s non-verbals were more polished, non-threatening, and he had a consistent standing physical stance the pick up artist community calls “measured vulnerability” used by those affecting relaxed Alpha male dominance with women. (The stance is when your body is at a slight angle to those you are speaking too, your legs are apart and feet at an angle.)
4. Obama had a stance that was more squared up with those he was speaking with. Obama also used a lot of pointing gestures early, like a professor trying to affect physical dominance with a student. He then changed his non microphone hand to a loose fist, and using a full chopping motion rather than pointing later.
5. Romney kept his non-microphone hand flat, moved it side to side or above his head and down when the ABC text crawl line mentioned “deficit” or “taxes”. Romney seldom used pointing. When he did it was at the ground or himself.
6. The “split-cam” was not good for Obama (on ABC) due to a head up, nostrils visible, sitting stance. It was sometimes bad for Romney, who occasionally had a constipated look watching Obama. There were other camera angle shots that were more flattering to Obama, but a couple of times that ABC flashed them, Romney was in the foreground fouling the shot of Obama. The number of times ABC went to the bad camera angle on Obama had me thinking Romney was playing to camera angles by positioning himself where that was the only “good” shot of Obama. Later in the debate ABC went to downward camera angles on both Obama and Romney.
I see no real change in the pre-second debate momentum of the race. Democrats will claim Obama won and people who don’t like Obama will still dislike him.
The fact that Romney spoke forcefully about jobs, energy prices and the economy are much less important that the fact he looked PRESIDENTIAL.
Looking PRESIDENTIAL means Romney gives people who don’t like the economy permission to vote Obama out. The preference cascade that Romney kicked off with the first debate — by establishing that he is a man who can take command — will accelerate.
We have a Romney electoral college rout of Obama in the making.
Posted in Civil Society, Politics, Polls, Predictions, The Press, USA | 11 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 6th October 2012 (All posts by David Foster)
The attempt to delegitimize free speech continues, with growing advocacy of what would essentially be blasphemy prosecutions.
Here’s a professor at the University of Chicago who thinks it unfortunate that a strong interpretation of the First Amendment prohibits the government from “restricting the distribution of a video that causes violence abroad and damages America’s reputation.”
A strange understanding of the word “causes.” If a group called Avengers of Sicilian Honor decides to blow things up every time a movie is released that isn’t properly respectful of the Mafia, then is the movie causing the violence? Obviously, the entity causing the violence is the Avengers. One would have hoped a law professor would understand this.
Does criticizing a religion, to whatever excessive degree, automatically create violence in a way that criticizing the other things–the Mafia, for example, or cats, or the male gender–does not? See this post and discussion at Ricochet. In comments there, I said:
Why should *religion* be more protected from offensive speech than any other belief system…and what, precisely, qualifies as a religion? If we mock the extreme-environmentalist believers in a conscious Gaia, are we committing blasphemy? How about believers in astrology, or magical crystals? How about Nazi believers in the ancient Teutonic gods?
And why should beliefs with a supernatural belief content receive more protection than comprehensive but non-supernatural belief systems? A dedicated Marxist has as much emotional investment in his beliefs as does a fundamentalist Baptist or an extreme Muslim.
Who is going to decide that Muhammed and the Holy Trinity are protected from mockery, but the belief in astrology is not? Are we going to have a list of approved religions? Who is going to establish such a list, and based on what criteria?
The real criterion, of course, would be propensity to violence. If a group shows a propensity to violence when its icons are criticized, then it would in practice receive special protection under the 21st-century blasphemy prohibitions. Those advocating for such rules either don’t understand the incentive system this would create, or don’t care.
Last Wednesday, Zbigniew Brzezinski–yes, that Zbigniew Brzezinski, the one from the Carter administration–added his voice to the chorus of those calling for restrictions on free speech:
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Posted in Academia, Civil Liberties, Islam, Media, Terrorism, The Press, USA | 9 Comments »
Posted by Ginny on 15th September 2012 (All posts by Ginny)
Reynolds’ tone is usually light, a bit ironic; this entry has trouble reaching that objectivity – but I assume someone whose day job is explicating the Constitution (or who knows history) may have trouble achieving distance. Hell, I teach a couple of the Federalist Papers and do. Of course, spending the summer acccidentally watching a lot of WWII propaganda movies hasn’t helped. (Last night was The White Cliffs of Dover.) Or maybe it has. History repeats and repeats – and it only takes a generation or two to educate Airheads who don’t know the history of their grandparents, let alone any farther back.
Anyway, if we re-elect this guy, we have proven that we don’t know our history, we don’t know history, and we don’t know ourselves. That is clearly true of the execrable journalists. The Boomers are getting old; we remain divided. But do any of us think that this is the way a great country acts? Do any of us think the obsession not with what Romney said nor with what Obama did and did not say but rather with the gotcha questions appropriately represented this country’s values?
(I don’t know what the “Just Unbelievable” category is really supposed to be – if it doesn’t fit, Jonathan, change it and take out this line. On the other hand, what better sums it up? Don’t talk to me about Japanese internment. I don’t want to defend it, but I can – that was human nature. This is the nature of a police state.)
Posted in Just Unbelievable, Politics, Terrorism, The Press | 94 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 17th August 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
And with the issuance of two announcements this week regarding the upcoming Presidential campaign, the usually interesting quadrennial race just got a little bit more … interesting? Bizarre? More than usually contentious? All of the above and more, to judge from this week’s surfing across the oceans of the internet. So Mittens discovered the existence – heretofore unsuspected by the larger public – of his fiscally responsible and constitutionalist backbone and tagged Paul Ryan as his running mate… that makes for a snappy bumper sticker right off the top of my head; “Time for a little R & R.” Said prospective VP nominee had never swam across my ken as a possible, but then Mittens himself had never seemed to me to be a likely prospect for the top o’ the ticket either … altogether too bland, to nice, too establishment GOP … but then I am only an interested amateur and Tea Party enthusiast. All props to him for seeing that the fiscally responsible, strictly Constitutionalist and relatively free market segment of the libertarian-conservative public constituted a powerful voting block.
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Posted in Conservatism, Leftism, Media, Obama, Tea Party, The Press | 7 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 20th June 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
This morning, moments before a House vote on Contempt of Congress by Eric Holder, the Attorney General, the White House announced that President Obama is invoking executive privilege. Holder requested the action in a letter to Obama.
He said making the documents public “would have significant, damaging consequences,” but he did not disclose whether Obama has been briefed or had another supervisory role in Fast and Furious.
This raises the question of whether there are Obama fingerprints on the policy. Some documents have been released and some others, including incriminating e-mails, have been leaked to the committee. So far, Obama’s name has not been found in the documents. His action will now raise suspicion and will force news media, that have minimized the scandal, to inform incredulous readers that it is a big deal after all.
Richard Nixon could have ignored the burglary of the DNC offices in 1972. We now know that nothing was found that would have tarnished his reputation. It was the coverup that damaged him fatally. The election is coming in 5 months. The Watergate story did not really break until after the 1972 election. This seems to be breaking much sooner and its effect on Obama’s chances are hard to predict. The coming Supreme Court decision on Obamacare may overshadow this story.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked how Obama could assert executive privilege “if there is no White House involvement?”
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Obama’s move “implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed.”
“The administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?” Brendan Buck said.
It doesn’t sound like it is going to subside anytime soon. It will be interesting to see if more leaks appear. The White House leaks like a sieve and not all are Obama fans, it seems.
Powerline writes that It won’t prevent Holder form being held in contempt.
Whether these consequences and concerns form the basis for a valid assertion of executive privilege is another matter. I’m no expert on the subject, nor do I know all of the ins-and-outs of the dispute between Holder and Issa’s Committee. However, when Congress has a sound basis for believing that the Executive branch lied to it over material matters as part of a coverup in the course of a legitimate congressional oversight investigation, regard for a proper balance in the relationship between Congress and the Executive argues strongly in favor of enabling Congress to obtain all documents relevant to the coverup, including those generated during the process through which the cover-up is reasonably believed to have occurred.
It will be interesting and may affect the election.
National Review Online has a piece that may explain the program.
an e-mail sent on July 14, 2010. After the operation, former ATF field operations assistant director Mark Chait e-mailed Bill Newell, then ATF’s Phoenix special agent in charge of Fast and Furious, to suggest a possible way to use Fast and Furious:
Bill — can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.
This “demand letter” refers to the push for a policy that would require U.S. gun shops in southwestern states to report the sale of several rifles or shotguns to a single buyer. According to CBS, “Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.”
This may have begun as an attempt to require licenses for long guns.
Posted in Big Government, Crime and Punishment, Elections, Law Enforcement, North America, Obama, The Press | 9 Comments »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 2nd May 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
I recently expressed my opinion about the shameful treatment of John Derbyshire by National Review, his former employer, which dropped him as a writer because of a piece he wrote in another online magazine. One of his statements which seemed to be the most objectionable to NRO was “(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.
(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
Two weeks ago, an incident in Virginia validated a couple of Derbyshire’s bits of advice to his kids (the premise of the piece).
There’s outrage in Norfolk, Va., today after a white couple was attacked by dozens of black teenagers, and the local newspaper did not report on the incident for two weeks, despite the victims being reporters for the paper.
Even today, the Virginian-Pilot did not cover the crime as news, but rather as an opinion piece by columnist Michelle Washington.
“Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim,” Washington wrote, describing the onslaught that began when Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami stopped at a traffic light while driving home from a show on a Saturday night. A crowd of at least 100 black young people was on the sidewalk at the time.”
Tonight, Bill O’Reilly played tape made at the scene. There were several young black men interviewed who had not participated in the attack. What they said was “If you go into a neighborhood you don’t know (and are white), you had better be careful.”
Apparently the young man driving the car got out of the car after a rock was thrown at it. He said, “That was a big mistake.” He and the young woman in the car were attacked by about 20 to 40 men from the crowd on the sidewalk. One of the young black men interviewed on O’Reilly’s program mentioned the Trayvon Martin case. Their injuries were not life threatening but kept them from work for a week.
How does this differ from what Derbyshire warned about ?
Another issue is the delay in reporting the attack by the local paper.
It happened four blocks from where they work, here at the Virginian-Pilot.”
The Virginia Pilot did not mention the attack on its own employees for two weeks. Why ?
Could this be related ?
That is the Pilot’s publisher and he was just confirmed as Obama’s new Deputy HUD Secretary.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved the appointment of Maurice Jones, publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
No, it couldn’t be related.
Posted in Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Obama, The Press | 39 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 11th April 2012 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
So – the blog kerfuffle du jour is John Derbyshire and the internet essay that he wrote for another obscure blog-magazine, the topic of which has raised such a general ruckus among the right-thinking side of the blogosphere, that it got him dumped over Easter weekend from the National Review and has the Breitbart conglomerate all in a twitter, and many of the rest of us on the libertarian/conservative/free-thinking side of the spectrum seeming to be thinking thoughts pretty much split three ways; cringing and thinking ‘oh, s**t’ or ‘about damn time’ and ‘ ‘OK then – if representatives of the capital ‘B’ Black community can witter all over the print media and the intertubules about their worries about their children running afoul of the 21st century version of the KKK – can those of us from the race of pallor worry frankly and openly about getting lost in certain neighborhoods, the odds on survival when taking the wrong exit off particular interstates in big urban areas, or the wisdom of going to certain sports venues without being armed to the teeth?’
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Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Conservatism, Human Behavior, Law, Law Enforcement, Media, The Press, Urban Issues, USA | 16 Comments »
Posted by Ginny on 3rd April 2012 (All posts by Ginny)
I’m coming late to Stephen G. Bloom’s “Observations from 20 Years of Iowa Life,” in the December Atlantic Monthly. (Thanks to Iowahawk – and for being Iowahawk.) A fly-over person, I remain surprised (so repeated rants here) by the insularity of people who after twenty years don’t enjoy the eccentricities of whatever culture they’ve been dropped in. Sometimes true of immigrants, it’s as often the experience of coastal people in the midwest.
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Posted in Academia, Arts & Letters, The Press | 11 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 13th November 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
That is the sarcastic answer to an ancient question lately revised in the matter of the Penn State University athletic department having enabled a coach to serially molest young boys for decades – the question being, ‘How you separate the men from the boys at ____?’ Understandably, a large portion of the public is upset to furious about this, and those who are Penn grads and/or college football fans, and/or Joe Paterno fans are particularly distressed and/or seriously disillusioned.
The very saddest outcome from this appalling state of matters is something that I had meditated upon five years ago, when it was the matter of the Capitol Hill pages and a one Representative Mark Foley, who was forced to resign once his apparent inability to keep his hands, metaphorically speaking, off the junior staff became public knowledge outside Washington.
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Posted in Academia, Crime and Punishment, Education, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, North America, The Press | 7 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 4th November 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
I started following what I called “The Affair of the Danish Mo-Toons” way back at the very beginning of that particular imbroglio, followed by the ruckus last year over “Everybody Draw Mohammad” and now we seem to have moved on to the Charlie Hebdo fiasco – a French satirical magazine dared to poke fun at the founder of Islam … by putting a cartoon version on the cover of their latest issue, with the result that their offices were firebombed. I think at this point it would have been fair to assume that representatives of the Religion of Peace would respond in a not-quite-so peaceful manner, so all props for the Charlie Hebdo management for even going ahead with it – for even thinking of standing up for freedom of thought, freedom of a press, even freedom to take the piss out of a target. (The following is what I wrote last year – still relevant to this latest case) Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Civil Society, Islam, Morality and Philosphy, Religion, That's NOT Funny, The Press | 8 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 23rd September 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
The juggernaut was-and still is, according to a quick internet search, an enormous, towering wagon with the image of a deity or two enthroned at the very peak under a vast canopy. This structure is taken out for a grand procession once yearly, pulled by devotees through the streets of a certain city in India: no quick spin around the block and back again: this wagon is enormous, clumsy, and heavy. Picture Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, arriving to meet Mark Anthony, or the Persian emperor Darius grand entrance in 300; it’s an arresting visual, and often used as a metaphor to indicate a certain sort of power, will and devotion. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Americas, Conservatism, Leftism, Media, North America, Politics, Society, Tea Party, The Press, USA | 3 Comments »
Posted by Carl from Chicago on 1st May 2011 (All posts by Carl from Chicago)
One reason I believe that the US government has grown so large and has been able to rack up so much debt is because of a general belief (especially among young people that)
- Government is fair, transparent and effective
- the private sector is scheming and opaque
The general public didn’t always feel this way. Back when the “Reagan Revolution” swept through he made the famous crack that we should always fear the comment “We are from the government, and we are here to help you”. There was a widespread belief that the private sector should lead the way and that government should play a supporting role, running things like the military and infrastructure spending, but not to generally take over key functions of the economy.
Younger people, in order to get into any sort of exclusive college, need to “volunteer”. In past years’ in the US volunteering typically meant joining a constructive organization or working with your church, but now there are a wide array of programs that students filter through in order to have a convincing resume to apply to these selective schools, and likely putting down church activities doesn’t help much at all. I think that people are confusing these sorts of volunteer organizations with the reality of how governments actually work, which is quite different, since government organizations have an innate tendency to 1) propagate 2) expand their domain 3) put themselves first in terms of salaries and benefits rather than focusing on value to the taxpayer. These sorts of behaviors also occur amongst volunteer organizations but not to the same degree.
People also have a more trusting belief that the government role is actually EFFECTIVE. In reality, government is usually a bystander when events occur. For instance Sarbanes-Oxley was invented in the wake of Enron to prevent financial scandal through making companies’ financials more transparent and other “reforms”. However, these “reforms” did nothing to prevent the 2007-9 meltdown where major companies went from financially sound and a clean audit opinion to utterly bankrupt in a matter of months, often for opaque balance sheet related items that were conceptually similar to the Enron-esque accounting items that Sar-box supposedly fixed. And as far as the BP spill; government employees by the thousand supposedly had oversight of that sort of behavior and yet were in fact ineffective in preventing the events in the gulf. The SEC did nothing to catch or track Madoff despite many warnings due to institutional bias and failure; even now they are trying to catch up to Wall Street, despite having a huge budget and thousands of staffers.
I recently received this summary of Exxon’s compensation policies since I am a shareholder. While Exxon is universally maligned among the left in fact their behavior is completely optimal as far as incentives for executives, and transparent. From the document:
The compensation program supports the retention of these and all other executives by holding back and putting at risk a large percentage of annual compensation until retirement and later.
Other practices include 1) no employment contracts 2) no payments or benefits are triggered by a change in control 3) no severance programs. In addition all of their US executives participate in the same programs so that they are aligned.
The government, on the other hand, despises transparency and accountability, along with their related organizations. The Chicago Tribune had an excellent article titled “Stimulus funds wasted in national home weatherizing program, critics say“. The article discusses one of the many “stimulus projects” that the government created as part of the massive effort to prop up the economy; all taxpayers will be paying for this for years to come in the form of repayment on our Federal debt.
The money spent… is a tiny fraction of the $90.5 million federal and state officials are pouring into the nonprofit CEDA to weatherize homes for the poor, but hundreds of jobs have been plagued by workmanship problems, according to state and federal records. As CEDA’s part in the federal stimulus program heads into its final months, contractors continue to fail 1 in 7 inspections, and a federal plan to fix mistakes revealed in a blistering audit last year still hasn’t been completed, federal officials said.
And not only is the program not working as intended, the government and their partners in the non-profit sector (that sprang up to eat at the trough of the stimulus funds) is extremely reticent to provide information to the journalists at the Chicago Tribune, which seems at odds with their public mission (although predictable to anyone that has a basic understanding of how governments actually function).
And by the state doling out money to a nonprofit, which is not subject to open-records laws, officials have kept from the public how millions of taxpayer dollars are spent. CEDA refused to provide information about its contractors, some of which have lengthy records of complaints, the Tribune found.
As the government moves into a larger sector of the economy, paid for with taxes taking from businesses in the private sector and their employees, you should expect grudging transparency at best, muted and confusing responses when problems occur, and no accountability among government officials for failures and outright lies. For instance no one would be fired related to the mis-management of this program, for example.
We need for people to understand how the “dead hand” of bureaucrats will strangle the country and that problems and denials should be expected as the norm and not an exception when these sorts of programs run amok.
Posted in Chicagoania, Public Finance, The Press | 5 Comments »
Posted by Charles Cameron on 20th March 2011 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ by Charles Cameron -- cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
My son, Emlyn, turns sixteen today.
He’s not terribly fond of computers to be honest — but he does follow xkcd with appreciation, as do I from time to time: indeed, I am led to believe I receive some credit for that fact.
So… this is a birthday greeting to Emlyn, among other things. And a round of applause for Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd. And a post comparing more reliable and less reliable statistics, because that’s a singularly important issue — the more reliable ones in this/ case coming from a single individual with an expert friend, the less reliable ones coming from a huge corporation celebrated for its intelligence and creativity… and with a hat-tip to Cheryl Rofer of the Phronesisaical blog.
Today, xkcd surpassed itself / his Randallself / ourselves, with a graphic showing different levels of radiation exposure from sleeping next to someone (0.05 muSv, represented by one tiny blue square top left) or eating a banana (twice as dangerous, but only a tenth as nice) up through the levels (all the blue squares combined equal three of the tiny green ones, all the green squares combined equal 7.5 of the little brown ones, and the largest patch of brown (8Sv) is the level where immediate treatment doesn’t stand a chance of saving your life)…
The unit is Sieverts, Sv: 1000 muSv = 1 mSv, 1000 mSv= 1 Sv, sleeping next to someone is an acceptable risk at 0.05 muSv, a mammogram (3 mSv) delivers a little over 50,000 times that level of risk and saves countless lives, 250 mSv is the dose limit for emergency workers in life-saving ops — oh, and cell phone use is risk-free, zero muSv, radiation-wise, although dangerous when driving. [I apologize for needing to write "mu" when I intend the Greek letter by that name, btw -- software glitch with the ZP version of WordPress.]
The xkcd diagram comes with this disclaimer:
There’s a lot of discussion of radiation from the Fukushima plants, along with comparisons to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Radiation levels are often described as “ times the normal level” or “% over the legal limit,” which can be pretty confusing.
Ellen, a friend of mine who’s a student at Reed and Senior Reactor Operator at the Reed Research Reactor, has been spending the last few days answering questions about radiation dosage virtually nonstop (I’ve actually seen her interrupt them with “brb, reactor”). She suggested a chart might help put different amounts of radiation into perspective, and so with her help, I put one together. She also made one of her own; it has fewer colors, but contains more information about what radiation exposure consists of and how it affects the body.
I’m not an expert in radiation and I’m sure I’ve got a lot of mistakes in here, but there’s so much wild misinformation out there that I figured a broad comparison of different types of dosages might be good anyway. I don’t include too much about the Fukushima reactor because the situation seems to be changing by the hour, but I hope the chart provides some helpful context.
Blog-friend Cheryl Rofer, whose work has included remediation of uranium tailings at the Sillamäe site in Estonia (she co-edited the book on it, Turning a Problem Into a Resource: Remediation and Waste Management at the Sillamäe Site, Estonia) links to xkcd’s effort at the top of her post The Latest on Fukushima and Some Great Web Resources and tells us it “seems both accurate and capable of giving some sense of the relative exposures that are relevant to understanding the issues at Fukushima” — contrast her comments on a recent New York Times graphic:
In other radiation news, the New York Times may have maxed out on the potential for causing radiation hysteria. They’ve got a graphic that shows everybody dead within a mile from the Fukushima plant. As I noted yesterday, you need dose rate and time to calculate an exposure. The Times didn’t bother with that second little detail.
In any case, many thanks, Cheryl — WTF, NYT? — and WTG, xkcd!
Once again, xkcd nails it.
I’ve run into this problem myself, trying to use Google to gauge the relative frequencies of words or phrases that interest me — things like moshiach + soon vs “second coming” + soon vs mahdi + soon, you know the kinds of things that I’m curious about, I forget the specific examples where it finally dawned on me how utterly useless Google’s “About XYZ,000 results (0.21 seconds)” rankings really are — but the word needs to get out.
Paging Edward Tufte.
Happy Birthday, Emlyn!
Posted in Announcements, Arts & Letters, Blogging, Diversions, Internet, Japan, Science, Statistics, The Press | 4 Comments »
Posted by James R. Rummel on 10th March 2011 (All posts by James R. Rummel)
I really don’t have anything of substance to add to the current NPR scandal. The bigotry and naked verbal venom exhibited by Ron Schiller, it would appear, aligns with the views that most Liberals have of those who hold opposing views.
What is a mystery to me, however, is why he voiced those opinions in the first place. It should have been common knowledge around the NPR water cooler that Conservative activists have been trying to get Liberals to say provocative things on camera now for years. James O’Keefe, the young man behind this latest effort, first gained fame with his devestating expose of ACORN. Why wasn’t it painfully clear that keeping such views quiet was the best policy possible?
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Posted in Leftism, The Press, Video | 11 Comments »