-By Warner Todd Huston
AP Shuts Down Blogger With Threats of Legal Action
Well, here is what might be a landmark case for the blogosphere, for the Internet, and for the future of our new media, citizen journalism. The AP has just sent a cease and desist letter to Brian C. Ledbetter telling him to stop using their copyrighted images on his website, snappedshot.com.
Snappedshot.com is a site predicated on criticism of photo-journalism. In pursuit of his criticism, Mr. Ledbetter uses photos from across the web that he thinks are doctored or misleading in some way. He then reports his opinion on the bias he sees therein.
Because of this pending legal action, snappedshot.com is now been placed on hiatus until the situation can be cleared up.
So, here is the issue facing us, folks: can we use copyrighted material under the commonly observed fair usage rules without getting hauled into court? After all, Mr. Ledbetter was not making money from his website and he used those photos in order to critique them, not to enrich himself. That would seem to be the very definition of fair use, would it not?
Now it comes down to whether use of the AP’s photos in order to do social commentary and criticism is fair enough to be considered fair use?
Worse, if this tactic works, can it not be used by every mainstream news source out there to silence criticism of them?
I say we have the makings of an important ruling on whether we bloggers are free to criticize the MSM without being dragged in to court at the whim of any MSM bigwig.
We’ll try to follow this story and see where it goes.
-By Warner Todd Huston
In a recent editorial published in the Washington Post, an unusual call for the USA to stay in Iraq rang out with pleas for the US to commit even more money and resources to help rebuild that war torn nation. Published under the byline of Angelina Jolie, the piece said that, “we have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance, from us and others, can have an impact.” This editorial is unusual because the Washington Post is usually filled with tales of how we have failed in Iraq and how we should just get out, but here is this one saying we are now at a place where leaving would be the worst thing we could do. One wonders if this article will find the name of Angelina Jolie used as an epithet by the get-out-now, anti-war set from among the netrooters and the MSM? Or will her celebrity and long standing interest in humanitarian efforts give her cover with the same sort of people?
What ever treatment we’ll see meted out by the far left to the Hollywood star who’s name graces this interesting piece, the fact that a call has been made to stay in Iraq by someone other than the conservative movement here is interesting if not amazing. It strikes a little heard note of optimism in news coverage that usually focuses only on the so-called failures of US forces in Iraq.
It should first be noted that this piece assumes the surge has worked. A few lines are also devoted to the feelings our troops have that the efforts in Iraq are neither fruitless or finished.
As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.
While it is certainly gratifying that this piece seriously calls for renewed commitment in Iraq, some of the assumptions made in the piece with Jolie’s byline are a bit overheated. In one part, the article claims that the “humanitarian crisis has not improved” in Iraq, but this is clearly not completely true.
-By Warner Todd Huston
After the disastrous loss of majority status that befell the Republicans in Congress with the results of the 2006 midterm elections, conservative members of the GOP — and even a few not so conservative — began floating a new sound bite mantra. We have “lost our brand” became the meme as House members fanned out to the media in an attempt to reassure the rank and file that they had realized their mistakes, were chastened, and were about to “take it back.”
The biggest focus of that “lost brand” was that of fiscal responsibility. Wild Congressional earmarks, “bridges to no where,” and waste became a hallmark of the Republican Congress and many Republicans believed that this was one of the main reasons that Republicans lost the support of the electorate. In a reversal of the conventional wisdom some polls even showed that Americans had come to trust the Democrats in spending more than they did Republicans.
Florida Republican Adam H. Putnam told the Pittsburg Tribune-Review back on March 31st of 2007 that it was time to get serious.
“I think a key reason was the issues of corruption, where we had a bumper crop of scandals and incompetence. … Americans lost the sense that Republicans brought a commonsense, business-like manner to governing (and that) undermined our brand.
It was further undermined by a sense that we had lost our way on fiscal responsibility. So when people went into those voting booths, they really felt disenchanted with a party that they perceived to have lost its way. We were seen as being petty. We were seen as being only in it for ourselves. We had stopped talking about big, bold ideas. We had stopped talking about relevant solutions — and we paid for it. “
In November of 2007, former RNC chairman Mel Martinez told Ronald Kessler, “When I look at polls and they show that the American people trust the Democrats more than the Republicans on spending, it shows us how we’ve lost our brand. We’ve got to get our brand back.”
This idea of taking the brand back even made itself into a new organization of conservative Congressmen called Reagan21. With this new caucus of sorts, the *members of Reagan21 wish to assure us all that they are still committed to Reagan’s vision of government.
-By Warner Todd Huston
Former Newark, New Jersey Mayor Sharpe James has been brought up on charges of corruption and the AP, The New York Times and several other outlets have all been reporting that jury selection for the event is underway this week. These news outlets dutifully reported the charges against James, reported his long political career, some have even reported how popular he was in office. Yet, not one of them remembered to mention he was a Democrat. So, today’s episode of “Democrat or Not?” leaves us right back where we usually are… with a story of corruption of a public official where his Democratic party affiliation is somehow not “relevant” to the story.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James is scheduled to appear in federal court today for the first of two federal corruption trials.
After being indicted in July, both James and his co-defendant, Tamika Riley, pleaded not guilty to all charges and are free on bail.
And what are the charges?
The first trial focuses on whether James, 72, arranged for the sale of nine city-owned properties at discounted rates to Riley, a woman nearly half his age with whom he traveled. Prosecutors said they will present evidence to show the two had an intimate personal relationship.
Prosecutors said James improperly steered properties to Riley, 38, and that she, with James’ help, quickly resold them at much higher prices. Riley was able to buy the properties although she lacked real estate, construction and financial experience to rehabilitate them, according to the indictment.
And where is his party affiliation mentioned….
-By Warner Todd Huston
The New York Post gives us a reminder of the sort of shady characters that supports the Hillary Clinton campaign for president. Last week the New York carpenters union announced their support of Hillary Clinton and it should be pointed out that their head, Michael Forde, has been linked to mob corruption in his role as union head.
Forde and union business agent Martin Devereaux are set for trial Nov. 26 on charges they took bribes from contractors to allow nonunion, off-the-books labor on job sites.
Forde was originally indicted in a massive 2000 probe of mob influence in the construction industry. Among the 38 people charged was alleged Luchese crime family acting boss Steven (Stevie Wonder) Crea, who pleaded guilty to price fixing, labor racketeering, bid rigging and constraint of trade.
Forde and Devereaux were convicted in 2004 – facing up to 25 years in prison – but got their cases tossed after a judge ruled jurors improperly discussed the case before deliberating.
But there is another interesting thing with this endorsement. Unions claim that they are the ones more interested in “democracy” and are always looking out for “the little guy,” right? Well, it is interesting that the NY carpenters union with Forde in the lead held a secret, closed door meeting during which this endorsement was decided.
The meeting was an “eyebrow-raising, closed-door endorsement,” that “broke ranks with the national union,” as the Post put it. If unions are so much for “democracy” and all that, why the secret, closed door meeting?
Who can doubt that it is because the myth that unions are interested in democracy is and always has been a sham.
In any case, it is instructive to be reminded of what sort of character the Clintons surround themselves with.
-By Thomas E. Brewton
Worshipping the ancient Mediterranean god Moloch, and today’s liberal -progressivism, both require sacrificing children on the altar of self-centered materialism.
As G. K. Chesterton wrote in The Everlasting Man, ancient Rome’s great rival in the period of the republic was Carthage. Along with Tyre, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, Carthage, in Chesterton’s characterization, was a Phoenician city-state dominated by commercial councils who cared little for spiritual religion based on principles of morality and benevolence. Everything was measured in money and goods, even propitiating the gods and seeking their favor.
Carthage’s principal deity was Moloch, a particular object of hatred by the Romans.
Rome’s deities were relatively benevolent, representing the spirit of home, hearth, and agriculture. In violent contrast, Moloch demanded of his worshippers a steady sacrifice of young babies, who were placed in the metal arms of Moloch’s image over a raging fire, where the infants were burned to death. In recent times, archaeologists excavating the site of ancient Carthage have uncovered altar sites surrounded by large numbers of human infant skeletons.
-By Warner Todd Huston
Apparently to prove that the US is filled with Muslim hating Yahoos, ABC went on the hunt to find “Islamophobia” in America and the result is “Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do?” Since they didn’t really know where to find any, ABC News decided to create their own prejudice against Muslims by hiring an actress to put on Muslim dress and get “confronted” by a Muslim hating coffee store server — also an actor hired by ABC. Then, they rolled the cameras, opened the doors to the public and, viola, ABC “found” prejudice in America. How hard is it to “find” something that you invented in the first place? Let’s find out…
ABC is “shocked” to find that their little manufactured moments revealed how some customers reacted. “Bystanders Turn Away When Muslim Actor Hired By ‘Primetime’ Encounters Hostility,” ABC proclaimed.
ABC begins their report assuring us all that “Islamophobia” is rampant in America.
The Sept. 11 attacks, the Iraq war and suicide bombings worldwide have changed not only the way we live but the way we look at those around us, especially Muslims. “Islamophobia” has entered the American vernacular, and the anti-Muslim attitudes and prejudice it describes remain common.
Prejudiced attitudes against Muslims “remain common”? Does it really? Is ABC telling us that Muslims are being widely discriminated against in this country since 9/11?
Well, ABC may be claiming this is so, but the FBI sure isn’t. According to Investor’s Business Daily, the FBI has found that anti-Muslim crimes in the USA is not so “common” as ABC wants to make us believe.
-By Warner Todd Huston
The dean of journalism at Northwestern University seems to have gotten himself in a bit of a sticky wicket, as it were. Apparently, John Lavine, the dean of the Medill School of Journalism, has been indulging in the use of un-attributed and unnamed sources in his columns for the Medill alumni magazine and 16 NU journo instructors aren’t very happy about it. Not only are they not happy about it, but according to the Chicago Tribune they are demanding that the dean prove that he didn’t make his quotes up out of whole cloth.
You know the journalist’s favorite source, don’t you? It’s the “unnamed source,” the “anonymous quote” and the famed “deep throat” sources that journalists make out to be “protecting” from discovery. This sort of source has a long history in the kind of journalism of whistleblowers or muckrakers that have been increasingly popular since Watergate. But, everyone knows that you cannot base a factual story solely on the anonymous source. There must be other things, other sources, other proofs backing up these unnamed sources or the fact in question becomes an allegation instead of a proven truth. Naturally, employing unnamed sources too often damages the veracity of any story — as well it should.
But what do we see so often in the MSM today? “Some say,” “many feel,” “an unnamed source says,” “the word is,” “ we are told by sources close to the…” They call this “journalism” and we are all expected to take their word for it without proof.
The danger here is that a dean of journalism is using the discreditable practice at all. Lavine would appear as not a very good role model for his students who will wander out into a world of journalism increasingly under suspicion as less than truthful already. And that a dean of journalism could possibly have made up fake quotes for his columns is quite a charge, indeed.
The dean is under the microscope for two un-attributed quotes about the school’s courses.
At issue are two columns Lavine wrote in Medill’s alumni magazine. In a column in last spring’s magazine about a class in which students developed “a fully integrated marketing program,” Lavine quoted “a Medill junior” saying: “I sure felt good about this class. It is one of the best I’ve taken.”
In the same piece, Lavine quotes “one sophomore” who glowingly praises a new reporting program, concluding, “This is the most exciting my education has been.”
Apparently, though, the anonymous quotes seemed suspicious to senior David Spett, a columnist for the school’s Daily Northwestern newspaper. He did some digging and could not find a single student in the classes dean Lavine mentioned who would admit to have been the source of the quotes lauding the school’s courses. Needless to say, Spett’s leg work has caused a controversy.
-By Warner Todd Huston
As an adjunct to the story we did not long ago about union corruption in the construction trade in New York City, it was reported by the Courant newspaper in Hartford, Conn., that subpoenas were handed down to a Norwalk, Conn. based EMCOR Group, inc.
Norwalk-based EMCOR Group Inc., the construction and building systems company, said its F&G Mechanical Corp. unit received subpoenas from a New Jersey grand jury probing corruption.
F&G was served subpoenas in December and January by a grand jury empaneled by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The probe is “investigating allegations of union corruption,” the company said in the filing. F&G, a mechanical contracting firm based in Secaucus, N.J., has produced documents in response to the court orders and is cooperating with investigators, the filing said.
So, New Jersey, the land of the “Sopranos,” is no slouch in construction trade corruption, either.
I’m just saying…
-By Nancy Salvato
I missed the train today…again. The nitwit in front of our car let out her husband at the stop sign instead of making her way through the three-way stop and across the tracks. By the time they finished their goodbye, the brief window of opportunity to pass through the intersection had passed and the gates were down. This happens for a combination of reasons.
One reason this happens is because the train I ride is so long that the crossing gates are triggered well before it arrives. The second reason is that another train, heading in the opposite direction, always arrives 5 to 7 minutes before my train and triggers the gates. Traffic lines up, this train slowly backs up so the gates will be triggered to go up, they go up for about a minute to a minute and a half, and go back down when my train appears in the distance. Damn! Pedestrians pay a $250.00 fine for crossing the tracks when the gates are down. Is it any wonder, though, why so man try and make their way to the other side? I see my friends waving at me through the doors of the 3rd vestibule as the train moves past me.
I eventually make my way across the tracks and walk the platform for 20 minutes thinking about how much I have to do when I arrive to the office. I can’t even buy next months ticket; I have no checks with me. The train makes its way into the station. I climb the steps into the vestibule and there is already a woman standing in there, talking on her cell phone…loudly. The cars are full, this being the last stop. However, as a courtesy to other passengers, I hadn’t planned on taking a seat since I’m getting over a cold. I put down my briefcase and unzip my jacket, preparing for the ride into the city. Two other people join me in the vestibule. There is no way we’ll be having any conversation because this woman has no intention of ending her conversation and she is really LOUD.
-By Thomas E. Brewton
There is an antidote to the feckless way too many of us live our lives.
Pastor Steve Treash at the Black Rock-Long Ridge Congregational Church (North Stamford, Connecticut) continued his examination of God’s will for our lives. His focus this Sunday was God’s will for our future.
The inescapable point is that God holds the clock on our lives. He knows when each of us is to die. We should know that dying without Jesus Christ is to consign our souls to eternal damnation.
What are our guideposts on the necessary spiritual journey?
First, Jesus is coming back. This is stated roughly 300 times in the New Testament.
February 27, 2008 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Comments Off
I’m devastated to report that our dear friend, mentor, leader, and founder William F. Buckley Jr., died overnight in his study in Stamford, Connecticut.
After year of illness, he died while at work; if he had been given a choice on how to depart this world, I suspect that would have been exactly it. At home, still devoted to the war of ideas.
As you might expect, we’ll have much more to say here and in NR in the coming days and weeks and months. For now: Thank you, Bill. God bless you, now with your dear Pat. Our deepest condolences to Christopher and the rest of the Buckley family. And our fervent prayer that we continue to do WFB’s life’s work justice.
And I must add my own condolences to the Buckley family. I may not always have agreed with William F. Buckley, Jr., but he was an intellectual giant of the conservative movement and his perspective, civility and wit will be missed.
Map of Betrayal
Click thumbnail to view high rez flyer (300dpi). Fits letter size paper. Suitable for flyering your town or campus.
-By Warner Todd Huston
Today’s edition of “Democrat or Not?” gives us an example of a party affiliation that is mentioned by the MSM instead of one kept secret and naturally the party mentioned is the Republican brand. The strange part about this one, however, is the context in which it is reported. In what the media is calling a “politically motivated” family argument over Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton a stabbing occurred. But, here is the thing: neither of those involved in this family tiff are politicians and both were fighting over Democrats that they support. Yet, for some reason, TV station CBS 3 in Philly felt it necessary to mention that one of the combatants was a “registered Republican.”
Now, we have all heard the Associated Press claim that mentioning a party is fine “when it’s relevant.” They’ve claimed they only mention a party when it is “relevant” to the story. If this practice is prevalent throughout the news industry it sure seems that they all think it “relevant” when a Republican is involved… in anything.
This domestic argument involved a Mr. Sean Shurelds, a Barack Obama fan, who was stabbed in the abdomen by one Mr. Jose Antonio Ortiz, a Hillary Clinton supporter. These two goofs were brothers-in-law and were fighting in an Upper Providence Township home. Afterwards, Ortiz was charged with one count of felony aggravated assault and two misdemeanors.
So, what we have here are two guys fighting over who they are going to vote for. But, the interesting thing is how many MSM outlets found it “relevant” to mention that one of them was a Republican. And the other? Well, his party didn’t interest any of these newsers at all amusingly enough.
Channel 3 news gave us what seems a common report on this story…
Authorities said Ortiz, a registered Republican and Clinton supporter, allegedly stabbed Shurelds, an Obama supporter, in the stomach.
If you’re interested, the smokinggun.com has a copy of the police report but the party registration of Ortiz is not mentioned in the account.
So you tell me. WHY was the fact that Ortiz was a “registered Republican” necessary to report? Was it because they could portray a Republican as a knife wielding, nut case? Maybe we should expect to see a mention of party affiliation of carjackers, flim-flam men, and jaywalkers, too? If they are Republicans, that is?
-By Nancy Morgan
Last night I got together with my neighbors in Murrells Inlet, SC. By unanimous decree, they decided to appoint me as their voice. We’ve decided that I will speak for all of us ‘average’ Americans who seldom have their voices heard. You know who I mean, the ones you never see on TV. We’re all too busy working, raising our families, going to church and paying our taxes.
The reason I’m writing is to let you all know that we’re getting pretty sick and tired of the media, the politicians and the snotty elites who keep claiming to speak for us. They don’t.
A good example is all those candidates who say we want change. They’re right about that, but the change we want is to be able to voice our own opinions without being called racist, sexist or homophobic. Another change we’d like is to be able to click on the tube and not be assaulted with teenage pop-tarts, same-sex couples swapping spit, and sneering, anti-American self-anointed elites who give the US a bad name. They, most especially, don’t speak for us.
We’d also like to let you all know that we can take care of our own neighbors and families just fine without some fancy uplifting government program that ends up doing more harm than good. We don’t need welfare or subsidies or grants and we don’t need government schools frightening our kids about ‘global warming.’ Most especially, we don’t want our 4 year olds being taught how to put a condom on a banana or reading about Heather’s two mommies. Mostly we’d just like government to get out of our way. Oh, and we’d also like all those patronizing idiots we see on the TV to quit claiming to speak for us. They don’t.
One more thing: What’s with this ‘all politics, all the time?’ Even Fox News has somehow gotten the notion that we care about who said what to whom, and about what the candidates ate for breakfast on the campaign trail. Hey, it’s a good nine months before we vote, so put a cork on the eternally breaking news about the latest he said – she said. All that stuff signifies absolutely nothing to us at this stage of the game. While it’s satisfying to see Hillary getting what’s coming to her, most of us honestly try try not to gloat at the misfortune of others. (I’m smiling right now, but I’m trying hard not to.)
-By Warner Todd Huston
It is always curious when left leaning artists, writers and musicians get in high dudgeon when the American people criticize them for their overtly political statements. These leftist artists often argue that the “integrity of the art” means that critics have “no right” to criticize them. But there is a great amount of hypocrisy in the art world over the issue of “artistic integrity” because these same people exert a good deal of peer pressure against any art that might have a conservative viewpoint. A recent L.A.Times Book section report on the works of Sci-Fi writer Robert Heinlein’s work is a perfect example of this attack of a conservative author’s work by the American left.
First of all, the “integrity of the art” argument does, indeed, hold some water. After all, in a free society an artist has every right to make his art in any manner he might wish. But even as artists may have the right to express themselves, that right has nothing what ever to do with any right of these artists to be heard. There simply is no such corresponding “right” for any artist’s work to be seen or heard by the public. Further, art consumers, whether they be filmgoers, art lovers, music fans, et al, have every right not to patronize the work of an artist whom they do not like or appreciate. Failure at the market place does not equate to any stifling of an artist’s rights.
The recent Times article by Scott Timberg titled, “Robert Heinlein’s future may be past,” is a perfect example of the left’s tendency to ostracize and rhetorically attack any art that evinces a perceived lean to the right. In his piece, Timberg has announced the death of Heinlein’s work, sure that it will soon fade away and the reasons that Timberg and those whom he interviews for his anti-Heinlein piece gave for this proclamation of the death of Heinlein’s legacy is instructive for the substance of the criticism. The reasons that these elitists are proclaiming the end of Heinlein is because his work isn’t “progressive” enough to suit their left influenced desires. So, here they are criticizing the integrity of Heinlein’s work and seeing no contradiction in that criticism.
Contrasting this anti-Heinlein position with the stance that entertainers and artists took over, say, the flak the Dixie Chicks took for their verbal attacks on the US and the Bush administration reveals a glaring contradiction.
-By Frank Salvato
Just before the South Carolina Democrat primary there was a great deal of talk about the Clinton campaign having played the “race card.” Not too many people flinched at the thought and rightfully so; the Clinton’s have a vicious and relentless political attack machine. But looking at the voter demographics from the states that compiled data based on “race,” it would seem that even though the Clinton’s may have dealt the “race card,” it is the black community that is playing it…all across the country.
Where some among the disingenuous Left will try to characterize this as a criticism of Barack Obama’s campaign, it is not. I have a complete and potent set of arguments against electing Barack Obama to the highest office in the land, among them: his lack of tangible experience leading anything, his lack of significant political achievement, his affection for Marxist ideology in the form of his emulation of Saul Alinsky and Frank Marshall Davis
No matter where we go in the United States it is hard to escape the insincere blathering of those who promote tolerance and diversity, the American Fifth Column. We see commercials that promote racial, cultural, religious and sexually oriented harmony but the fact is it is less practiced than we would be led to believe. To prove this point all one has to do is dress up like a Marine and walk down the streets of Berkeley. Or try to bring up a cogent point that takes issue with one of the more vulnerable points of Al Gore’s argument about global warming in Los Angeles. Or try to explain to the Columbia University faculty why those who hide behind the false label of the “religion of peace” should answer for their committed atrocities against not only women in their culture but against all those who do not submit to the will of Allah. Try employing any of these actions, and more, in the presence of the American Fifth Column and you will be branded a murderer, a truth denier, a bigot, a racist.
But getting back to the “race card” issue…
-By Warner Todd Huston
You’re all aware, I’m sure, of the several attacks against our fighting men and women perpetrated by city governments of late. The Berkeley City Council, who intended to try and kick Marine recruiting offices out of the city, and Toledo, where Mayor Finkbeiner refused to allow the Marines to exit a bus in his city when they arrived to start planned upon exercises, are all over the news. It is also well known that in Toledo, Ohio and Berkeley, California protesters for and against the Marines have been deployed to face each other and the news media have been there to chronicle it all. But, one paper has taken it upon itself to try and excuse the very people who put these ignorant politicians into office who caused these rows in the first place.
The Toledo Free Press published a recent article titled “Controversy over Marines rejection impacts city’s development efforts”, the main thrust of which is that people shouldn’t blame the businesses of either Toledo or Berkeley for the actions of their politicians. But, after seeing all the whining about lost revenue by the business community in both cities and after seeing them plead with people not to blame them for what their politicians do, it left me wondering why shouldn’t we hold voters accountable for what their politicians do?
The TFP detailed the fact that several projects from corporations and businesses outside the city that were considering investing in Toledo have begun to report that they are reconsidering their investments there because of the actions of Mayor Finkbeiner. For instance, Ward Brewer, CEO of a Florida based corporation that had intended to bring a multi-million dollar project to Toledo, is putting a hold on plans until the situation is resolved in the Marines’ favor.
Brewer, during a phone conversation from his Florida office, said Finkbeiner’s handling of the Feb. 8 incident was “inexcusable.” He said he would be speaking with “Marines,” which he declined to name, before issuing a final decision.
And Brewer isn’t the only one.
-By Warner Todd Huston
Howard Blume of the L.A.Times penned an interesting account of the “band of left-wing, dissident back-benchers that took over the city teachers union” and how the cadre are up for an election contest. After a three year reign of power, the left-wingers are facing their first election contest that can either affirm their handling of the union or send them packing.
Interestingly, the L.A.Times seems to be weighing in against these left-wing dissidents.
The union’s record over three tumultuous years will give members much to ponder. It includes lost elections, protracted contract struggles, an explosion of mostly non-union charter schools, the response to a botched payroll system and a still-evolving power equation involving Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Much of the spotlight will fall on 64-year-old A.J. Duffy, the passionate, volatile union president who is seeking a second three-year term. But an entire leadership slate faces a rank-and-file referendum. On bread-and-butter issues, Duffy points to a cumulative 8.5% salary raise and to achieving slightly smaller class sizes while maintaining health benefits. More broadly, his team has championed the idea of individual schools governing themselves — with teachers in a leading role. The concept plays to mixed reviews among school reform experts.
This Duffy character is definitely a lightning rod. Telling the Times “I am notorious,” and saying “I drive people crazy. I want it done yesterday,” it is obvious that his presidency is mostly about him and not the job. Naturally, his wild, leftward tilt is helping drive “education” to the last place on the list of interests in L.A.
One of the ideas he helped push was health care benefits for part time cafeteria workers, a complete waste of money in a cash strapped system.
Lets hope that the members of the teachers union see some sense and oust this extremist and his junta of far left ideologues.
-By Michael M. Bates
Former first lady Nancy Reagan took a fall last weekend. She reportedly is doing well and I hope her recovery is swift and complete.
Nancy Reagan’s central role in the history of this country can’t be discounted. It’s possible, perhaps likely, that Ronald Reagan would never have been president were it not for his wife.
Their son Ron believes that’s the case: “I don’t think he would’ve gotten to where he got to (without her). Because I think she has more ambition than he does. I think if left to his own devices, he might’ve ended up hosting ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ on TV or something … I think that she saw in him the stuff that could be president, and she kept pushing.”
She kept pushing. And staring. Listening again and again to her husband’s speeches, when he was a private citizen, then as California governor, then as activist, then as president, she stared in rapt attention, as though never hearing the words before.
It became known as “the gaze.” At least one very close friend claimed that it was never phony; Mrs. Reagan truly was fascinated by what Mr. Reagan had to say, no matter how many times he said it.
-By Warner Todd Huston
I hate to say it, but for a “news” service that is supposed to thrive on the “facts,” the Associated Press sure seems to leave out an awful lot of them in their wire stories. We’ve seen dozens of examples of that when they conveniently forget to mention the political party affiliation when a public servant caught up in crime or scandal and happens to be a Democrat. We have also seen the AP somehow forget to mention when a criminal happens to be an illegal alien. Well, here is yet anther case where a crime is committed by an illegal and the AP seems to have developed amnesia about the fact that the criminal is an illegal alien.
In AP’s report headlined “Man Accused of Stealing 7-Year-Old’s ID”, the AP gives us the tale of a 7-year-old boy who’s Soc. Sec. # was stolen, the theft discovered when the boy’s mother tried to file her taxes. Their report is short and interestingly lacking one little detail…
CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Police in a Chicago suburb say the Internal Revenue Service has told a 7-year-old boy he owes back taxes on $60,000 because someone else has been using the youngster’s identity to collect wages and unemployment benefits.
Officers in suburban Carpentersville said Friday the second-grader’s identity has been in use by someone else since 2001.
Detectives have filed a felony identity theft charge against 29-year-old Cirilo Centeno of Streamwood, Ill.
OK, folks, take a wild guess what the legal status of our nefarious Mr. Cirilo Centeno is?
Well, you might be able to guess, but the AP sure isn’t going to help you much. To fill out the facts of the case, we need to turn to the Chicago Daily Herald which reports that one tiny, little missing fact…(my emphasis)
Centeno said he bought the card for $50 from a friend and used it because he is in the country illegally, police said.
Gosh, what a surprise, eh?
Now, why is it that the AP felt it necessary to omit the fact that their criminal subject is an illegal alien? Is it not germane to the story? If they don’t think so, how do they justify that claim?
-By Dan Scott
Now that we are fully into the election season, we hear again the Democrat Party mantra, Change. Change here euphemistically means a change in leadership in the Whitehouse from a Republican to a Democrat. So let’s recap Democrat leadership since November 2006 when they took over the Senate and House of Representatives.
The response from Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the liberal Democrat Party was opposition to any change in tactics in Iraq, in short, the status quo. The whole of the Democrat and MSM response has been their claims we must negotiate and pull out, let the UN handle foreign affairs. Negotiate with whom? Terrorists? Iran and Syria who supply the terrorists? Off went Nancy Pelosi to Syria. Now we hear both Democrat candidates sent off people to Syria again. If we and the Europeans can’t even get the Iranians to back off on reprocessing uranium for bomb making what makes anyone think they or their ally Syria will back off on terrorism? Who supplied Hezbollah with rockets and weapons to attack Israel and who resupplied them? That would be Iran via Syria.
Iran has a vested interest in the failure of Iraq as a Democracy. Success in Iraq both politically and economically highlights the failures of the Iranian government’s own domestic policies. What the Mullahs fear most is what happened in East Germany, you remember, the West Germans prospered under freedom, the East Germans stayed poor and got to watch it all through the fence. Most Iranians are poorer under the Mullahs than when the Shah was running Iran. Such a failure is truly staggering when you consider the Shah was deposed in 1979, almost 30 years ago. If Democrats were actually paying attention to the issues of the Middle East, they would clearly see the peril of the position they are advocating. Leadership after all involves educating oneself on the underlying facts of the situation to resolve a problem.
-By Warner Todd Huston
Christian Toto, Washington Times entertainment reporter, dropped us a note about the upcoming release of a direct to DVD movie called, “I Could Never Be Your Woman.” This flick that wasn’t ranked high enough by the studio to get a theatrical release stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Rudd, and Saoirse Ronan. It’s supposed to be a love triangle comedy flick, but close to the end of the thing is included a slam on president Bush that has nothing at all to do with the rest of the movie and is blatant for its gratuitous nature.
As Mr. Toto has it this “nasty bit of Bush bashing” is at about 98 percent through the film and occurs during a scene where young Miss Ronan is playing the part of a teenaged talent show contestant.
Ronan’s character takes the stage for a student talent show and starts strumming a song to the tune of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic.”
Then Mr. Toto gives us the faux lyrics of this Bush bashing tune…
“While the North Pole is turning to slush, on my TV there’s President Bush,” she sneers. “He’s a pay-ay-ain in the whole world’s ass. How can it be we voted him in? I just don’t see how it figures.”
The crowd laughs and cheers the song, while Pfeiffer’s character beams like a proud mama.
So, out of the blue everyone starts attacking president Bush for no reason. The movie has nothing whatever to do with politics or current events, yet they go after president Bush without provocation or any conformity with the continuity of the plot. It is so typical of Hollyweird to go off on a hate rant like that, isn’t it?
I’d also like to say one thing about the Alanis Morissette song, “Ironic.” She doesn’t get ironic right. The song is a complete failure at showcasing any irony. Morissette only ends up proving that she hasn’t a clue what the definition of irony is. Is it “ironic” that she is trying to talk about irony without even knowing what it is? Well, if it isn’t “ironic,” it is certainly ridiculous. Just like this direct to DVD “comedy.”
David E. Young has written a fantastic, historical treatment of why a recent amicus brief in favor of the D.C. gun ban is way off base as well as based on bad historical research. Filed by “fifteen professional academic historians,” the piece makes all sorts of missteps and excludes fact all too often. These so-called historians are just plain wrong so often that one gets the feeling that they let agenda get in the way of truth and research.
This piece was originally published by the History News Network and is a must read for anyone interested in our 2nd Amendment rights.
Why DC’s Gun Law Is Unconstitutional
Historical arguments about American bills of rights are major points of discussion in the District of Columbia vs Heller case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue is exactly what the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution means and whether it was proper for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to overturn Washington D.C.’s handgun ban for violating the Second Amendment. An amicus brief in support of Washington D.C.’s handgun ban dealing with the historical issues in the case was filed by fifteen professional academic historians. One would expect such a brief to be historically accurate, address the Second Amendment in its proper Bill of Rights related context, and include the most relevant figures, statements, and actions for understanding any historical issues in the dispute. However, any such expectation is left largely unfulfilled in the historians’ brief.
The historians’ Heller amicus brief begins with a look at the English Bill of Rights, which limited only the king, not the legislative branch of government. James Madison indicated during his speech to Congress introducing the Bill of Rights provisions that the comparison was inapplicable. The reason was because their purposes were different. England’s Bill of Rights did not limit the legislative branch at all, while the fundamental rights protections in American bills of rights were understood as limiting all branches of government.
The historians’ brief bizarrely claims that only two states, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, actually made their declarations of rights a part of their state constitutions. This statement is factually incorrect. On the contrary, two other states, Vermont and North Carolina, copied verbatim the Pennsylvania Constitution’s language making their declaration of rights a part of their state constitution. Also, George Mason specifically stated in the Virginia Ratifying Convention that the 1776 Virginia Bill of Rights, which he was the author of, was part of Virginia’s Constitution. Mason’s statement was made to illustrate the need for a federal bill of rights based upon the state bills of rights because the proposed U.S. Constitution allowed Congress to violate the rights of the citizens that were protected in the state bills of rights. Other historical materials exist that directly contradict the historians in this matter as well.
-By Warner Todd Huston
Back on August 28th we posted the sad story of the death of a motorcycle policeman who was killed while in service as a motorcade escort for president George W. Bush. What brought the story to our attention was the shocking way that Time Magazine reported the story. With a headline that blared “Bush Motorcade Kills Cop,” Time made it appear that the officer died as a result of… well, president Bush.
Well, today, we have a similar story to report. A motorcycle policeman was killed today while in service as a motorcade escort for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. And, sadly, Time Magazine is at their spin machine again. The previous incident was headlined as if Bush was responsible for the unfortunate death, but today’s Time headline was not so harsh in its tone when a Clinton was involved. “Officer Killed Escorting Clinton,” is how Time Magazine reported this incident.
The August report on the Bush motorcade accident is no longer on the Time website, but it contained the actual account proving that the police officer died when he lost control of his cycle. Obviously Bush’s motorcade didn’t “kill” a “cop.” It was just that the man lost control and died from the accident. Regrettable, yes. Negligence on the part of George W. Bush? No. Still, the tenor of the Bush report clearly carried a harsh tone against president Bush.
Just look at those two headlines side-by-side.
Bush Motorcade Kills Cop
Officer Killed Escorting Clinton
Quite a difference in tone there, eh?
-By Thomas E. Brewton
Technological advances and changing life styles confront the average person today with unprecedented numbers of often worrisome decisions to be made each day.
Pastor Steve Treash’s sermon today at Black Rock-LongRidge Congregational Church (North Stamford, Connecticut) focused upon guidelines for making Christian choices in our lives.
In the past, most women became housewives and mothers, assuming the primary role in holding the family together. Men tended to take jobs that followed in their fathers’ paths. Both men and women remained all their lives in or near their birthplaces.
Lower cost and ease of travel, coupled with instantaneous worldwide communications, have blown apart the traditional, intergenerational family as a cohesive unit. The rapidly proliferating numbers of choices for consumer goods, investment securities, and job opportunities, often far from home, engender pressure and anxiety.
When we worship false gods – wealth, power, and fame – pressures and anxiety increase.
How to deal with it? The answer, of course, is to turn to God.
-By Warner Todd Huston
Guilt by association, that’s the trick that the AP just pulled on the wife of GOP presidential candidate John McCain. In a story about the non-story du jour, AP writer Libby Quaid has placed Cindy McCain in with jilted political wives of the likes of Hillary Clinton, Suzanne Craig, Dina McGreevey, and Carlita Kilpatrick. They even reached back into the graveyard of political careers and dug up Lee Hart, wife of Donna Rice’s paramour Gary Hart.
The AP got all weepy eyed over how Cindy McCain “did not hesitate” to step forward to take “her place in the history of political wives who stood by their men in the face of rumored or alleged marital infidelity.” The AP then states her first lines as “Well, obviously I’m disappointed.” AP thinks this is interesting because, “A coterie of wives has confronted the public pain of such an accusation. Smaller still is the band who, like Cindy McCain, have spoken out.”
As the AP begins the story, you’d think that John McCain is exactly the same as Bill Clinton or Gary Hart… in other words guilty of screwin’ around on his wife. Even the way they quote Cindy McCain could be taken as that she is “disappointed” in her husband if the reader stops there!
Then the AP’s writer details the trials and tribulations of Hillary Clinton who’s husband, Bill, “did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica.” Quaid tells us how Hillary stood firm beside her man, just like Cindy McCain.
And then they give us a list of other recently jilted political wives.
-By Warner Todd Huston
This report by Scientific American is a hoot for its blatant hypocrisy. With the title of their piece, “Getting Duped: How Media Messes With Your Mind,”, it appears that Scientific American is trying to set itself up as the bringers of truth to all those confused by the “surreptitiously” misleading media. Their piece is ostensibly a warning on how the media is misleading us all. Their subtitle even declares how they are about to tell us of the media’s misconduct.
Statements made in the media can surreptitiously plant distortions in the minds of millions. Learning to recognize two commonly used fallacies can help you separate fact from fiction
So, with that, what would you expect from the rest of the piece? Perhaps some examples of how the media misleads us? Maybe a few New York Times lies, or gaffs from network news outlets, or even the cable news stations? If you would expect examples of media lies in a story sold as one about the media, you’d be disappointed because all the examples Sci. Amer. gives us are from politicians and commentators, not the media. And guess what else? Nearly all the examples of “lies,” “misleading statements,” and “straw man arguments” are from Republicans and/or conservatives.
Scientific American’s chief argument is that too often Americans get their impression of current events and political issues through the “straw man” argument. This is an oft times successful debating practice whereby one mischaracterizes the opponent’s position and uses that as a basis to attack their entire stance on any issue or series of issues. Sci. Amer. also delves into a related convention whereby a person attacks the opponent’s weakest argument and inflates that weak argument to symbolize the opponent’s entire oeuvre.
I have to say that some of what Sci. Amer. says in relation to the actual issue of the straw man argument is good advice. But, to see where Sci. Amer. itself is misleading one has only to consider the way they go about proving their case.
Like I said, this article is sold as one about the media. The title, and the subtitle point to the media as the culprit. But, right away, the initial three paragraphs abruptly changes the focus away from the media and squarely onto the shoulders of our politicians. It quickly becomes obvious that Scientific American has itself misled the reader and turned what promised to be an expose on the media into an attack on the war effort in Iraq, George W. Bush, conservative activist David Horowitz, and commentator Bill O’Reilly — with one mild jab thrown in at Bill Clinton from his 1996 campaign, perhaps to show a faux balance.
-By Nancy Morgan
American culture is starting to resemble a teen-ager obsessed with bathroom jokes. Only America’s focus is riveted on sex. All sex, all the time. From Britney’s panties, to Anna Nicole’s lovers, to transgender rights to forced acceptance of homosexuality. If a story deals with sex, it sells.
The focus on sex, while prurient and titillating, has wider implications that have been overlooked. They involve redefining the family and undermining marriage by de-mystifying sex, (under the guise of ‘empowerment.’) From advocating special rights for transgendered under the banner of ‘inclusiveness,’ to same-sex marriage under the banner of ‘discrimination,’ the left is making headway. Helped by America’s appetite for sex and our famed tolerance, the gradual acceptance of deviant behavior as normal is becoming, well, normal.
Last week, Hillary took Obama to task for not being as enthusiastic about homosexuality as she is. “I’m more pro-homosexual than Obama” she proudly claimed. All Democrat candidates are busy burnishing their credentials by signing on to the radical gay agenda, which has extended way beyond ‘tolerance’ to outright acceptance of anything that falls in the sexual arena.
Take Yale University. This week is set aside for “Sex Week.” Parents will have the satisfaction of seeing what their $45K per year buys. First up is a trendy competition to win a porn-star look-alike contest. Then students will proceed to the good stuff, like learning how to achieve a state beyond bliss and the proper application of lubricants. This is called higher education.
Other sex news last week included the confessions of a kinky college professor who was almost strangled in an S&M session. He’s ‘deeply ashamed’ and ‘finally through’ with the double life he’s led as a kid. Expect him to become the left’s new poster boy for courage.
-By Warner Todd Huston
NBC Channel 10 News of Philadelphia, PA has given us a perfect example of how the media misuses words in order to illegitimately blame things and people who are otherwise blameless. This particular story really shows how the media manipulates… or is, perhaps, just plain illiterate at the very least.
The headline begins us on our journey of media manipulation and nonsense. With the proclamation that “French Fries To Blame For SEPTA Station Gang Beating”, we are supposed to be informed that “French fries” are at fault for a beating. I guess it wasn’t the gang-banger punks that were responsible, huh? It was the “French fries”? Already the news piece shies blame away from the humans responsible to an inanimate object; the French fries (a favorite poly in the “gun violence” meme, by the way).
Oh, but it doesn’t stop with just an illogical, misleading headline. The very first few paragraphs caries us further on our journey into absurdity.
PHILADELPHIA — A teenager riding SEPTA home from school said Wednesday she was attacked by a group of teenage girls over French fries, and wanted to thank the good Samaritan she said stopped the beating.
The 16-year-old girl, who was not identified, told NBC 10 News she knew others had been attacked on SEPTA, but said she had no idea she would be the next victim.
So within the first two sentences we see that this sort of violence has been happening more and more on the mass transit in the “City of Brotherly Love,” and that makes the lie to the “French fry” claim… unless people wander around Philly carrying French fries (an obvious item of burning desire, jealousy and passion, of course) at all times?Next Page »
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