Friday, November 30, 2007
Virginian Pilot Tries To Scramble to the Winning Side
In fact he is quite vociferous about it, characterizing Cal Thomas and Charles Krauthammer, the latter a Pulitzer Prize winner, as creators of straw men, unfairly characterizing Democrats as advocates of defeat in Iraq.
His foam flecked diatribe is a good simulation of outrage. He is shocked, shocked that the Democrats in congress who have advanced 40 bills to pull out of Iraq, yesterday, today or at the latest tomorrow, should be viewed as having a vested interest in our defeat.
He has yet to explain how Harry Reid’s statement that we have lost in Iraq is a desire to have the war go well. Or how Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha’s demand that we pull out of Iraq immediately is a desire for the US to win.
Or perhaps he overlooks the “Impeach Bush and Cheney” organizations with supporters like John Dean and many of the leading lights of the Democratic party.
But it’s funny. Until now, the Pilot pages have been nothing if not a drumbeat of defeat and retreat on Iraq. Its latest campaign is to paint the men working for Blackwater as murdering goons who wantonly kill innocent civilians for fun and profit.
But suddenly it appears that the “surge” is working and the Pilot does not want to be caught on the wrong side of history. It is said that victory has many fathers while defeat is an orphan. After having denounced the war in Iraq as the bastard child of the Bush administration, the Pilot editors are crowding into the waiting room telling everyone that they are the proud father.
What utter bullshit.
For an unvarnished view of the drive-by-media's opinion on the war and the troops, there's nothing more revealing than this exchange with Helen Thomas, "grande dame" of the Washington Press Corps:
Helen Thomas decided to get her feelings about the American military out into the open today:Q Why should we depend on him?.
MS. PERINO: Because he is the commander on the ground, Helen. He's the one who is making sure that the situation is moving —
Q You mean how many more people we kill?
MS. PERINO: Helen, I find it really unfortunate that you use your front row position, bestowed upon you by your colleagues, to make such statements. This is a — it is an honor and a privilege to be in the briefing room, and to suggest that we, at the United States, are killing innocent people is just absurd and very offensive.
Q Do you know how many we have since the start of this war?
MS. PERINO: How many — we are going after the enemy, Helen. To the extent that any innocent Iraqis have been killed, we have expressed regret for it.
Q Oh, regret. It doesn't bring back a life.
MS. PERINO: Helen, we are in a war zone, and our military works extremely hard to make sure that everyone has the opportunity for liberty and freedom and democracy, and that is exactly what they are doing.
I'm going to move on
Here's the video:
Stick that up your tailpipe Donny Boy.
Donny replied to me with a "QED" - referring to my final line "utter bullshit." I invite anyone to read his column of unsourced assertions and mine, in which I give examples of the Left's desire to declare defeat and retreat and tell me who is bullshitting whom.
Like many editorial writers and columnists, Donny is good at making assertions, he's just not good when it comes to debate because in a newspaper there is no debate. The printed page is a one-way medium and columnists and editorial writers are not forced to defend their position. Contrary opinions, via letters to the editor, are thrown away and the "conventional wisdom" as conceived by the editorial staff acts as a vast echo chamber, convincing them that they are right. It's what made the CNN debate in Florida such a parody. The CNN Libs have no idea what Conservatives are really interested in, so they bring out all their stick figure images of the Right: bible thumping, gun toting, Confederate flag waving, gay bashing Neanderthals. It's an attitude that spells the death of an industry that doesn't even want to try.
Labels: Virginian Pilot
I will never forget that breathtaking moment when, in the CNN/YouTube debate earlier this fall, the woman from Ohio held up a picture and said, "Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards, this is a human fetus. Given a few more months, it will be a baby you could hold in your arms. You all say you're 'for the children.' I would ask you to look America in the eye and tell us how you can support laws to end this life. Thank you."
They were momentarily nonplussed, then awkwardly struggled to answer, to regain lost high ground. One of them, John Edwards I think, finally criticizing the woman for being "manipulative," using "hot images" and indulging in "the politics of personal destruction." The woman then stood in the audience for her follow up. "I beg your pardon, but the literal politics of personal destruction--of destroying a person--is what you stand for."
Oh, I wish I weren't about to say, "Wait, that didn't happen." For of course it did not. Who of our media masters would allow a question so piercing on such a painful and politically incorrect subject?
I thought of this the other night when citizens who turned out to be partisans for Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards asked the Republicans, in debate, would Jesus support the death penalty, do you believe every word of the Bible, and what does the Confederate flag mean to you?
Howard Kurtz reviews the CNN debacle in his column today, an extension of his blog post at The Trail last night. He leads with CNN's expression of regret over the inclusion of General Keith Kerr, a member of Hillary Clinton's campaign steering committee on gay and lesbian issues. But at the end, Kurtz includes this strange defense from CNN's Washington bureau chief David Bohrman:Bohrman said he had no problem using questioners who have voiced support for other candidates as long as they are not donors or formally affiliated with any campaign. "We bent over backwards to be fair," he said. "We're not perfect. But we tried extremely hard."
Extremely hard? That seems very questionable, as James Joyner points out in a quote Kurtz includes just before this. Within minutes of the broadcast, bloggers using nothing more than Google unearthed Kerr's connection to the Hillary Clinton campaign. With the other questioners, CNN apparently didn't even bother to peruse their posted profiles on their YouTube accounts, where they could have easily discovered their professed support for their candidates.
Memo to CNN: quit trying to excuse this away. No one tried "extremely hard" to vet these questions. Obviously, no one tried vetting them at all. The continuation of the pretense only damages your credibility even further than the debate did.
Giving them the benefit of the doubt, what is really exposed in the CNN YouTube debate is that the Liberals and Leftists who work for CNN are totally clueless about the issues that Republicans and Conservatives believe are important. Instead, they gave us questions that came out of the fevered imaginations of what the MoveOn and Kos types think the Right cares about. They gave us caricatures of the right; straw men that begged the question. It reveals an ignorance on the part of the Drive-By-Media that is shocking if true and reprehensible if not.
Day By Day: The Hillary Campaign
By now you’ve probably heard that scientists have discovered an elegant way to create the equivalent of embryonic stem cells (ECS) without having to create — and destroy — embryos. They just reprogram some skin cells and, voila, bypass all the controversial stuff. The long-promised miracle cures are still a long way off, if they’re coming at all, and ECS research still has its boosters, but it seems pretty clear that stem cells have been decoupled from the abortion wars.
Still, there has been one amazing breakthrough. Thanks to stem cells, journalists are finally growing backbones.
At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Ron Reagan, the acclaimed dog show emcee, tried his hand at being an infomercial snake oil barker. “I am here tonight to talk about the issue of research into maybe the greatest breakthrough in our or any lifetime: the use of embryonic stem cells,” Reagan announced. After listing numerous diseases and injuries it could cure, Reagan delivered the pitch: “How’d you like to have your own personal biological repair kit standing by at the hospital? Sound like magic? Welcome to the future of medicine.”
“Wait! There’s more! Order your Biological Repair Kit in the next seven minutes, by voting 1-800-D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T, and you’ll receive a second repair kit at no additional cost, as well as this amazing two-in-one steak knife that can cut through your dignity and still be sharp enough to slice this tomato! Operators are standing by.”
O.K., I exaggerate. But the tone wasn’t far off.
Reagan wasn’t alone, either. Then-vice presidential candidate John Edwards proclaimed in 2004, “If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) announced a few years earlier: “We must not say to millions of sick or injured human beings, ‘Go ahead and die, stay paralyzed, because we believe the blastocyst, the clump of cells, is more important than you are.’ ... It is a sentence of death to millions of Americans.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), outraged by conservatives seeking to inject religion into politics, nonetheless proclaimed: “Mr. Speaker, the National Institutes of Health and Science hold the biblical power of a cure for us.”
Cure for what? Cure for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. And soon!
How soon? Very soon. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.) promised that “we stand on the brink of finding the cures to diseases that have plagued so many millions of Americans.”
Columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is not only a doctor but also bound to a wheelchair because of the sort of spinal injury Democrats insinuated could be cured with a Democrat in the White House, said it well. This flimflammery was “a cruel deception perpetrated by cynical scientists and ignorant politicians. Its purpose is clear: to exploit the desperation of the sick to garner political support for ethically problematic biotechnology.”
And where was the press during this riot of false hope and cruel demagoguery, where politicians were in effect telling sick people they could vote for a cure for themselves or their loved ones?
The short answer is that they were either on the Democratic bandwagon, or they were outside helping push it.
When President Bush was grappling with embryonic stem cell research in 2001, Newsweek’s science correspondent, Sharon Begley, warned in a cover story that this might be “a cruel blow to millions of patients for whom embryonic stem cells might offer the last chance for health and life.”
In the current issue of Newsweek, Begley now tells us that the technology was always oversold. The notion that stem cells will lead to quick cures and transplants is “more fiction than fact,” Begley tells us — now.
The New York Times, in the words of Yuval Levin, formerly of the President’s Bioethics Council, “has been tenaciously partisan and frankly dishonest in its advocacy for embryo-destructive research in the past decade.” The Times almost never used the word “cloning” and downplayed the risks to women who donated eggs. Now, it points out to readers that not only did the old method have considerable drawbacks but that the task of delivering cures and therapies remains “daunting.” But, as Levin writes at Commentarymagazine.com, the Times “sees that the fight may be drawing to a close,” so “it’s time to put away the word games and speak openly about what has always been at stake.”
Who says stem cells can’t help regenerate spinal tissue?
Remind you of anything? Like the hype on GLOBAL WARMING?
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Chris Matthews’s new definition of Victory in Iraq means we lost World War II. But, hey, we finally won Vietnam.
Growing up, I always heard America wins the war, loses the peace. The nation never was big on diplomacy. But in an asymmetrical war, there are no diplomatic negotiations.
That’s where some in the media step in to try to give our military victories away. Consider this quote from Chris Matthews on his show last night while he was interviewing David Ignatius:MATTHEWS: Lots of publicity lately, and maybe it‘s fair, maybe it‘s not, that things may have calmed down over there, less Americans killed in action in the last several of months but before. But my definition of a defeat is you can‘t leave. If we can‘t leave that country in the foreseeable future, we are losing. The purpose of the American Army is to get home and be ready to defend this country against possible threats to this country.
As long as we‘re stuck over there, it seems we‘re losing. When will we be able to come home from Iraq, based upon all this popular good news here?
Interesting way of redefining victory. For thousands of years, you take over a country, you’re the winner. Matthews wants to change that, saying, “As long as we‘re stuck over there, it seems we‘re losing.”
Let’s see. We still have troops in Kuwait, so we must have lost the Gulf War.
But we pulled our troops out of Mogadishu so we beat Somalia.
No American troops in Vietnam. Yeah, we won.
But we still have troops in Korea. Darn it, we lost the Korean War.
Troops still in Japan? We lost World War II.
Troops still in Germany? We lost World War I.
Troops still in the Philippines? We lost the Spanish-American War.
Troops still in the South? We lost the Civil War.
And I just learned that we have 10,500 troops in Britain. That means we lost the Revolutionary War. No wonder we speak English.
Labels: biased reporting
CNN is defending it's use of several liberal Democrats to ask questions for a conservative driven Republican primary. Um, I think the whole point was they wouldn't know a reasonable question from a typical conservative if it bit them. But that doesn't stop them from chewing off their Left arm with this response.CNN also aired questions from supporters of Democratic candidates John Edwards and Barack Obama.
And that’s fine by the network, which is standing by its question selection process and lashing out at critics who say the debate demonstrated CNN’s liberal bias.
“We’re focused on the questions, not the questioners,” said Sam Feist, CNN’s political director.
So, am I correct in that for the Dem debates, they get Dem questioners, and for the GOP debates, they get Dem questioners?
And here's how the debate was supposed to go:
David Bohrman, CNN’s Washington bureau chief and executive producer of the debate, spoke to The Caucus from “an undisclosed location” where he and a team of six others were pouring over the entries.
So far, about 3,000 questions have been posted to YouTube, Mr. Bohrman said, and he expects to have about 5,000 videos at his disposal come Sunday, the contest deadline. That beats July’s Democratic YouTube debate, which pulled in about 3,000 videos.
Most questions online have been pulled from public viewing for review, but many of the remaining posts involve asking the candidates to defend their opposition to gay marriage and abortion. Those kinds of “lobbying grenades” would be disqualified by the CNN selection team, Mr. Bohrman said.
“There are quite a few things you might describe as Democratic ‘gotchas,’ and we are weeding those out,” Mr. Bohrman said. CNN wants to ensure that next Wednesday’s Republican event is “a debate of their party.”
Now pull the other one.
And from Ace of Spades:
My criticism was twofold, and you left out an important part of my analysis. Did I complain about the questions CNN selected? Yes. Maybe you are comfortable having conservatives intentionally portrayed as a sort of Frankenstein's Monster made up of scary end-time evangelicals, trigger happy survivalists, segregation happy racists and John Birch Society members, but I'm not. It is neither a fair depiction, nor an accurate one.
Flip the image. If Fox News had held this debate and portrayed the Dem Candidates as Gaia-Worshipping, Tree Spiking, One-Child Policy Forced Abortionist, NAMBLA members it would have been just as wrong, regardless of what questions they asked. If convicted child-porn enthusiast Gary Glitter pops up showing interest in a Democrat during his YouTube question, the damage has been done regardless of how profound his question on Tax Credits for Renewable energy might be.
Under your "assumptions", you just let a professed Richardson supporter off the hook for pretending to encourage a Ron Paul run. You fail to see the problem with that?
That is beside the point, though. What you failed to mention was the other aspect I raised. As bothered as I was by the questions (which as they come under even more scrutiny appear to have been specifically designed by Democrats to influence the public perception of who Republicans are and what we stand for), I was just as outraged by the Republican candidates failure to call "bullshit" on the proceedings.
To the extent that there were "victims" on that stage, they were "victims" by choice. While Democrats may be comfortable assuming that role, it was disgusting to watch Republicans pliantly accept it.
I wanted someone in the GOP to produce what I called a "Coverdell Moment." It didn't happen.
In fact, Romney made the matter worse. By declaring the Rebel Flag to be so racially divisive it ought not even be seen (with no apparent qualifications), not only did he basically slander a large segment of the South as irredeemable racists, but he did so in a way that validated the little punk who asked the irrelevant question. That punk has since admitted that he wanted to create a wedge issue. Mission Accomplished!
Fred!'s answer was better, but still fell short of what should have been said.
Quite simply, CNN rigged a debate in order to divide and smear Republicans, and to create wedge issues where none existed before. And the GOP candidates stood there and took it. For you to excuse this on the grounds that "well, hey, the questions were good" is ridiculous. Or, charitably, naive.
Labels: biased reporting
With all due respect to John and Kathryn, I have to side with Jim Geraghty and others who thought this debate was one of the worst so far. The following five-minute video — the first in a continuing series we're calling "News in Five" — shows how the CNN-YouTube debate format tends to yield two types of questioners: plants and nuts:
Click on the link for the video.
Labels: biased reporting
- About her husband's "don't ask, don't tell" policy?
- Whether she believes in the Bible?
- About Daily Kos and his comment on dead Americans "Screw them."
- Her plans to send men to Mars?
- What she's going to do about toys made in China?
- What her position is on gun control?
- What's her position on farm subsidies?
- Why do so many white men hate her?
And for good measure:
- What her position is about abortion?
- What her position is about illegal immigrants having driver's licences (oh, that's right, asking that is a personal attack!)
- What her position is about border control?
- What her postion is on the Illuminati?
Michelle Malkin has a partial list of Democrat plants chosen by CNN
Digging out more CNN/YouTube plants: Abortion questioner is declared Edwards supporter (and a slobbering Anderson Cooper fan); Log Cabin Republican questioner is declared Obama supporter; lead toy questioner is a prominent union activist for the Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Last week, in an article titled "Walking a Tightrope on Immigration," The New York Times made the fact-defying claim that the illegal immigration issue poses a risk for Republicans who appeal to voters "angry" about illegal immigration. (This is as opposed to voters "angry" that they spent good money buying a copy of The New York Times.)
In support of this assertion, the Times was required not only to ignore the stunning defeat of this year's amnesty bill, but also to proffer provably absurd evidence. I dearly hope Democratic politicians continue to look to the Times as an accurate barometer of voter sentiment.
In addition to secret polls showing that "the majority of Americans" support "a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally," the Times cited election results from 1994 and 2006 that directly contradict this thesis.
First, the Times raised former California Gov. Pete Wilson's "precipitous slide" in the polls after he supported Proposition 187 in 1994, which denied most taxpayer-supported services to illegal immigrants.
The problem with this example is that Proposition 187 was wildly popular with California voters.
Times reporter Michael Luo seems to be referring to the Times' own prediction of catastrophe for Proposition 187 -- not actual election results.
One week before Californians voted on Proposition 187 in 1994, B. Drummond Ayres Jr. reported in the Times that there had been "a sharp falloff in support for the proposition."
He said Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and African-American ministers were coming out strongly against Proposition 187 and that "this outcry, along with the increasing opposition being voiced by liberals, civil libertarians and assorted national political figures" was having an effect.
And then Californians voted.
Proposition 187 passed in a landslide with a nearly 20-point margin -- a larger margin than Wilson got, incidentally. It was supported by two-thirds of white voters, half of black and Asian voters, and even one-third of Hispanic voters. It passed in every area of California, except San Francisco, a city where intoxicated gay men dressed as nuns performing sex acts on city streets is not considered unusual. In heavily Latino Los Angeles County, Proposition 187 passed with a 12-point margin.
I'm no campaign consultant, but I think Wilson's support for an off-the-charts popular initiative probably didn't hurt him.
In fact, here on planet Earth, about the safest thing a California politician could do would be to wildly, vocally support Proposition 187. But in New York Times-speak, politicians are walking a dangerous "tightrope" if they dare to defy a slight majority of San Francisco voters!
The initiative went to Carter-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer, who issued a permanent injunction and then, in a series of decisions, found the initiative unconstitutional. Her rulings were still on appeal when Democrat Gray Davis became governor and dropped the appeals. Everyone remembers how popular Gray Davis was! (First governor in California history to be recalled.)
The crown jewel of the Times' pathetic attempt to marshal evidence for its thesis that Americans want more, not fewer, illegal aliens choking our roads, schools and hospitals also included this gem: "J.D. Hayworth, a hard-line incumbent Republican representative in Arizona, lost his race in 2006, as did Randy Graf, a member of the border-enforcing Minuteman group, who also ran in Arizona."
How many times do we have to disprove this canard?
As with Hillary's position on driver's licenses for illegals -- and B. Hussein Obama's entire campaign -- the Hayworth-Graf example works better when no follow-up questions are allowed. For example:
Q: Did Hayworth's and Graf's opponents campaign against them on illegal immigration?
Q: Were there any other issues on the ballot that year that might tell us if it was Hayworth's and Graf's positions on illegals that led to their defeats?
A: Si! Oops, I mean, yes -- why, yes there were! The very election that the Times cites as proof that anti-illegal sentiment is a loser at the ballot box also included four measures that passed overwhelmingly: (1) a measure to deny bail to illegal aliens, (2) a measure that would bar illegals from being awarded punitive damages, (3) a measure that would prohibit illegals from receiving state subsidies for education or child care, and (4) a measure to declare English the state's official language.
Whatever Arizona voters didn't like about Hayworth and Graf, it wasn't that they were too tough on illegals.
My theory is that Hayworth and Graf lost because the multitudes of Times reporters losing their jobs due to the Newspaper of Record's plummeting circulation have recently moved to Hayworth's and Graf's districts. (This is what's known as a "brain drain" in those districts.)
My theory -- like the Times' theory -- is supported by no evidence. But unlike the Times' theory, mine is not specifically disproved by other evidence such as common sense, an everyday observation of my fellow man, and also those four anti-illegal immigrant measures passing in landslides in the very same election.
Can the media get any more lame?
Reportedly, on Sunday 11 close family members of Jordanian-based Baathist reporter Dia al-Kawwaz, who runs the online anti-Iraq newspaper Shabeqat Akhbar al-Iraq, were slaughtered in Baghdad. The attack occurred in the Al-Shaab neighborhood shortly after 7 a.m. Shia militia men shot dead two of Kawwaz’s sisters, their husbands and their seven children, aged 5 to 10. They then exploded the house on their way out.
This story was carried by dozens of media outlets around the world.
Even Reporters Without Borders reported the shocking news:
About that horrible slaughter...
It didn't happen!!
It was just a hoaxer that Reporters Without Borders failed to fact check.
** The Iraqi Interior Ministry emphatically said, "Kawwaz is lying."
** The police in Baghdad have not confirmed the attack.
** Talisman Gate reported that Al-Iraqiyya TV has "categorically dismissed reports over the murder of Dhia al-Kawwaz's family in Sha'ab City." (Thanks, BG!)
** The Multi-National Force Iraq wrote me and reported that they had found no evidence to back up the fantastic story:
Reporters Without Borders and the other media outlets got pwned.
Media MAKES UP NEWS--- Another BOGUS REPORT FROM IRAQ
DeCapiGate: Take 2... Another Bogus "20 Headless Bodies" Report
A Challenge to TIME Magazine to Get Their Facts Straight
UPDATE: HotAir has the latest crap from the disgusting liar Dia al-Kawwaz.
The BBC has photos of the safe family.
Who’s Really Trembling?
Published On 11/28/2007 12:22:01 AM
By JULIA I. BERTELSMANN
Are critics of Israel persecuted at Harvard?
Anthropology and African-American studies professor J. Lorand Matory ’82 thinks so. At a recent Faculty meeting, he proposed that Harvard reaffirm “civil dialogue,” arguing that critics of Israel “tremble in fear” on campus.
In fear of what, one wonders—becoming a bestselling author at the Harvard Coop?
Nine months ago, I started a student journal entitled “New Society: Harvard College Student Middle East Journal,” with the aim of creating a more constructive dialogue on campus about the future of the region. The journal was inspired by a Harvard Hillel trip to Israel last winter. I was determined to include a variety of perspectives, so before I approached Harvard Students for Israel or any other Jewish groups on campus, I asked several Muslim and Arab students to contribute articles to the journal.
But I was met with little success: Many Muslim and Arab students preferred not to publish their views, fearing the threat of reprisal.
An Iranian student who had privately expressed opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declined to write, saying he preferred to “lay low” for fear of political consequences back home.
Another Iranian-American student backed out after sending me several articles about Iranian academics based in the U.S. who had been arrested on visits to Tehran. One such academic, Haleh Esfandiari, on a visit to her elderly mother, was detained for eight months and charged with crimes against “national security.” The student told me he feared the same fate and worried about what would become of his family if he ever expressed his views about Iran’s theocratic regime.
Similarly, an Arab student who was approached to speak about the situation in Darfur refused, saying that he was certain some of his compatriots at Harvard would report back home about his activities abroad and that he feared being arrested or harassed by his country’s security services.
And one of our writers, Chia N. Mustafa ’09, was told by a poster on the journal’s website that he belonged to “the rank of traitors” and for writing an article advocating independence for Kurdistan.
So when Matory claims that people at Harvard “tremble in fear” because of their views on the Middle East, he is half-right.
But it is not critics of Israel who live in fear at Harvard. Rather, it is students and faculty from the Arab and Muslim world who feel they must censor their criticisms of autocracy and human rights abuses in their home countries.
As an editor, I have yet to encounter a student—Jewish, Muslim, Christian or otherwise—who is the least bit afraid of criticizing Israel in public or in print.
Criticism of Israel is, in fact, ubiquitous at Harvard.
At Harvard Law School, Professor Duncan Kennedy—who has no expertise in international law or Middle East studies—is teaching a seminar on legal issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The course focuses almost exclusively on Israeli abuses of Palestinian rights. Kennedy is the faculty advisor for the “Justice For Palestine” group at HLS, and has flown in radical critics of Israel, at Harvard’s expense, for guest lectures. Nobody has contested his right to criticize Israel in the classroom.
Harvard also hosts programs on the Middle East in which Israeli input is minimized or excluded at the behest of Arab sponsors: yesterday’s Harvard Middle East North Africa Conference, for example, invited various Arab student groups to participate but has failed to include any of the Israel groups on campus. The Kennedy School of Government hosts the Dubai Initiative, which is sponsored by a government that denies Israelis—and only Israelis—the right to enter its borders, even as tourists.
Last May, Armenian studies professor James R. Russell was disinvited from a Harvard-sponsored exhibition of Iranian propaganda posters because he had compared them to those of the Soviet Union. Some of the Iranians involved in the conference were apparently worried that comparing their country to an atheist state might provoke Ahmadinejad’s thought police.
Even at Harvard, critics of Iran and other undemocratic regimes in the Muslim and Arab world fear for their lives and liberty. In contrast, the worst that an anti-Israel activist like Matory has to worry about is a letter to the editor in The Harvard Crimson expressing an opposing view.
Is that enough to make a critic of Israel “tremble in fear”? Fear of embarrassment, perhaps, if that criticism is ill-informed and demonstrably inaccurate.
For what is really going on at Harvard see A Faustian bargain
At Harvard, President Drew Gilpin Faust is proving herself to be immune to concerns about intellectual standards or racial discrimination. Indeed, she seeks "a different Harvard" -- one with so many black professors and staff that they could fill Harvard Stadium. President Faust, you see, is trying to overcome the past effects of the legacy, not of slavery, but rather of President Lawrence Summers.
The Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel has been plagued for several days by riots and the violence has spread to other areas as well. The problem stems from an accident at an intersection in which a motorcycle (which authorities say was speeding) collided with a police car killing the two people on the smaller vehicle, both of whom were teenagers of North African descent.
Based on the pretext that this was no accident -- i.e., the policemen were waiting around for a motorcycle to run into -- the local "youths" (predominantly Arab and/or Muslim) began looting and setting fires. A day-care center was one of the targets. When police and fire fighters arrived, the youths fired at them with hunting rifles. The police union says that the violence is more intense than it was during the infamous 2005 riots due to the widespread use of firearms.
From American Thinker:
Rioting has broken out in Paris as a result of a traffic accident involving two Muslim youths whose moped struck a police cruiser, killing the boys.
Police insist they were not chasing the boys and that the incident was an accident.
And from AFP:Scores of police injured in new French riots
Youths battled police for a second night in Paris suburbs, burning down government buildings and injuring 64 police officers, who stepped up security in troubled towns on Tuesday.
The troubles in six towns north of the French capital -- which were also the scene of major unrest in 2005 -- were sparked by the deaths on Sunday of two teenagers whose motorbike collided with a police car in Villiers-le-Bel.
Police said that one of five officers who were in critical condition in the latest clashes had been shot
The last time "youths" rioted in 2005 Sarkosy was the Interior Minister. Now that he is President, it will be interesting to see how he handles this situation.
Q “You mentioned the size and the shape or the scope, stuff like that. Will this contain time lines or goals for the withdrawal of troops?”
...Stuff like that?
Anyway, here's the list of highly paid drones who prepare questions that would make the editors of the3 Weekly Reader blush.
“President Bush’s agreement with the Iraqi government confirms his willingness to leave office with a U.S. Army tied down in Iraq and stretched to the breaking point, with no clear exit strategy from Iraq.
“The President should take responsibility for his Iraq policy rather than expect the American people or the next Admisitration [sic] to bear the consequences of his mistakes. The President can do that by working with Democrats who are fighting every day to bring our troops home responsibly, honorably, safely and soon.”
...the White House press corp’s questions were predictable and pathetic. The following are selected questions from the press conference, and my summary of General Lute’s responses appears in brackets following each question:
Q “Is there any precedent for this in history? I mean, there wasn’t anything like this after Korea or Vietnam or any other kind of American engagement.”
[The US has been a party to a long-term agreement with Korea and is a party to bilateral agreements with 100 other nations.]
Q “How can any nation make a deal under occupation and not feel coerced? And anyway, they don’t really have a sort of government there at all.”
[A declaration is not something that must be voted on but, nevertheless, all major Iraqi leaders agreed to it and it was read to, discussed and generally agreed to by the council of representatives.]
Q “Is this a facade for the Middle East conference, so it doesn’t wave this big cloud of our being in Iraq?”
[The declaration is part of a process that started August 26 and has no relation to what’s going on in Annapolis.]
Q “You mentioned the size and the shape or the scope, stuff like that. Will this contain time lines or goals for the withdrawal of troops?”
[That’s not part of the declaration but it will be part of the negotiations and “all these things are on the negotiating table.”]
Q “General, will the White House seek any congressional input on this? … Is the purpose of avoiding the treaty avoiding congressional input?””
[Negotiations like this are handled by the State Department and are not subject to Congressional approval. There are about a 100 similar agreements between the US and other nations and the vast majority are not treaties.]
These questions are not just "when did you stop beating your wife" lame, but stupid to the max.
Here’s the Pew Iraq poll report. What’s interesting is that the dramatic upswing appears to have happened mainly between June and September. That was at a time when America’s leading news organizations were studiously ignoring what was happening in Iraq, and well before the change in tone of news coverage, when in fact concerted efforts were underway to disparage the surge and Petraeus.
Speaking of Iraq:
Crittenden at Pajamas re Bush-Maliki pact, A Dream of Iraq.
Blackfive: Left scrambles for cover as anti-war flicks tank at box office. Slightly off topic, ever notice how some of the people who squawk most about bringing the troops home think they’re all going to be crazy murderous suicidal basketcases when they get here?
Don Surber asks the question that I think will be THE question on people’s minds as they go to the polls (assuming Hillary wins the Democrat party nod): Do we really want a return to the Clinton scandals, lies and deceit? I think the answer will be no. Once is enough.
Do we really want to bring back this soap opera for 4 more years?But the media mavens are still not ready to call Clinton’s lies what they are. On tonight’s “Special Report with Brit Hume” I watch in amazement that Fred Barnes, Michael Barone and Jeff Birnbaum never once said that Clinton lied. All of them used the word “slippery.”
Patrick Healy of the New York Times reported that Bill Clinton is telling people on the campaign trail that he opposed the war in Iraq “from the beginning.”
Of course that’s not the truth.
CNN reported on June 23, 2004:Former President Clinton has revealed that he continues to support President Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq but chastised the administration over the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.
“I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over,” Clinton said in a Time magazine interview that will hit newsstands Monday, a day before the publication of his book “My Life.”
My point is not about Hillary trying to renege on her authorization of this war. My point is merely that under another President Clinton we will get more lies by any administration since Josef Stalin passed away.
The Times story is here. The CNN story is here. Linked by Memeorandum.
UPDATE: Oliver Willis: “As one of President Clinton’s strongest supporters and biggest fans, it pains me to point out that what he’s saying here is a load of bull.”
I did not have military relations with that war, that Iraq…
“Slippery” assumes there is some wiggle room. It describes someone who is skirting the truth or using misdirection.
A magician is “slippery.”
A candidate who tells you that she will work for some glittering generality like love, peace, motherhood or apple pie is slippery.
Someone who says (as Clinton did) that he would have voted for the first Gulf War but agreed with those who stood against it is slippery.
But is someone denies he had “sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski” when he had sex with that woman, he is not slippery, he is a liar. And when he expresses support for the war in 2004 but claims to have opposed the war in 2007, he is not slippery, he is telling a lie.
But that’s par for the course with the press, even the likes of Barnes, Birnbaum and Barone who are denounced by FAIR as part of “The Most Biased name in News.” Part of the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy."
What is wrong with these people? Are we back to the era when the press was actually praising Clinton for his ability to lie brazenly and convincingly? Are we back to claiming that everyone lies about sex and we’re OK with that (except Larry Craig)? What does it take before Clinton’s lies are properly labeled, catalogued and characterized?
Hello? Is anyone there?
UPDATE: Captain Ed:
Those who profess an undefinable discomfort with a Clinton return to power may find more definition for that discomfort after this display. It's not the equivocation that has people squirming; it's the ease with which Bill Clinton can issue flat-out lies. In fact, the fact that he issues such researchable and exposable lies and still has the chutzpah to use them on the stump that may worry people most of all. Does he really think that the media will allow those statements to go unchallenged?Does the useof the term "slippery" answer your question?
UPDATE: The Corner on Clinton's lies:
Birds Got to Fly, Fish Got to Swim [Jonah Goldberg]
and Bill Clinton's got to lie. From today's Washington Post:A former senior aide to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice disputed Bill Clinton's statement this week that he "opposed Iraq from the beginning," saying that the former president was privately briefed by top White House officials about war planning in 2003 and that he told them he supported the invasion.
Clinton's comments in Iowa on Tuesday went far beyond more nuanced remarks he made about the conflict in 2003. But the disclosure of his presence in briefings by Rice — and his private expressions of support — may add to the headaches that the former president has given his wife's campaign in recent weeks.
Hillary Mann Leverett, at the time the White House director of Persian Gulf affairs, said that Rice and Elliott Abrams, then National Security Council senior director for Near East and North African affairs, met with Clinton several times in the months before the March 2003 invasion to answer any questions he might have. She said she was "shocked" and "astonished" by Clinton's remarks this week, made to voters in Iowa, because she has distinct memories of Abrams "coming back from those meetings literally glowing and boasting that 'we have Clinton's support.' "
Leverett, a former career foreign service officer who said she is not involved in any presidential campaign, said the incident affected her because of her own doubts about the wisdom of an attack. "To hear President Clinton was supportive really silenced whatever questions I had," she recalled. Leverett, who worked in the same office as Abrams at the time, said Rice and Abrams "made it a high priority" to get Clinton's support, meeting with him at least twice. Abrams was tasked to answer Clinton's questions and "took the responsibility very seriously," Leverett said. "Elliott was then very focused on making sure that we followed up on Clinton's questions to keep Clinton happy and on board."
Los Angeles - Despite critical acclaim and massive promotional budgets, a wave of anti-Santa holiday pictures floundered at the box office over the Thanksgiving opening weekend, leading some entertainment industry analysts to question whether Hollywood had overestimated the American public's loathing for the Claus administration and a seemingly endless shopping season.
"I'm not sure what went wrong," said Jeff Bell of the MPAA after the release of the weekend Nielsen/EDI movie box office figures. "With all the griping you hear about the holidays, it stood to reason that people would flock to theaters for a chance to vent their hatred at that fat red fascist bastard. I blame illegal downloaders."
Whatever the reason, the financial results were grim.
"Kringle's List," starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts in a cautionary tale of rogue elf agents inside the North Pole's illegal Naughty and Nice wiretapping operation, led the pack of anti-Claus releases with weekend receipts of $68,500, for a $26 per-screen average. The film's take was only good for a #34 showing overall, just behind the limited arthouse re-release of the 1965 Don Knotts classic "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," but studio spokesman Rob Foulet said the film could eventually recoup its $180 million production budget through strong word-of-mouth and a new advertising campaign that downplays the film's elfin geopolitical psychodrama in favor of Miss Roberts' breasts.
"We're not saying she has a nude scene in the film, but we're not saying she doesn't," said Foulet. "That's up to the ticket buyers to find out."
Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, who gave glowing, 5-star reviews to each of the films, said he was not surprised by their poor financial performance.
"It's sad, but hopefully these wonderful films will do much better in the overseas market," said Ebert. "No matter how much down inside they know how Christmas is wrong, and Santa is wrong, it's hard for Americans to see their elves portrayed in a balanced, realistic way, as tragically haunted sadistic pederasts. By contrast European filmgoers are much more sophisticated and educated, so they eat that shit right up."
New York Times film critic A.O. Scott, another enthusiastic review of the films, agreed.
"These new films are complex and challenge our cherished assumptions about Christmas," said Scott. "But American audiences can't deal with anything that isn't mindless escapism. Americans want their movies simple, with fart jokes and boobies. Face it, west of the Hudson this country is a vast group home of 300 million drooling retards. No matter how many times you pile them in the shortbus, drive them to the mall, and herd them into the cineplex to watch a daring, groundbreaking film that fearlessly points out just what a bunch of violent, soulless retards they really are, before you can collect their ticket money they've escaped and gone wandering off to spend it all at Hot Topic and Sports Authority."
Read the rest.
It's a Glock.
Stone Age savages show up in your country and announce that from now on if you offend them they'll kill you, and you meekly swallow it? You don't even protest? You say "Yes, sir, whatever you say, sir," and let them have their way with you, like you're a swooning, hopeless sex slave in a Thai bordello?
"Pussies" doesn't even begin to cover it.
Eunuchs. Geldings. Limp-wristed bitches not worth saving.
That's what one comment said referring to this:
Ben Hoyle writes in the Times/UK of British artists and their willingness to shock -- except when the subject is anything beyond what would offend Granny:Britain’s contemporary artists are fêted around the world for their willingness to shock but fear is preventing them from tackling Islamic fundamentalism. Grayson Perry, the cross-dressing potter, Turner Prize winner and former Times columnist, said that he had consciously avoided commenting on radical Islam in his otherwise highly provocative body of work because of the threat of reprisals.
Perry also believes that many of his fellow visual artists have also ducked the issue, and one leading British gallery director told The Times that few major venues would be prepared to show potentially inflammatory works.
“I’ve censored myself,” Perry said at a discussion on art and politics organised by the Art Fund. “The reason I haven’t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat.”
Perry’s highly decorated pots can sell for more than £50,000 and often feature sex, violence and childhood motifs. One work depicted a teddy bear being born from a penis as the Virgin Mary. “I’m interested in religion and I’ve made a lot of pieces about it,” he said. “With other targets you’ve got a better idea of who they are but Islamism is very amorphous. You don’t know what the threshold is. Even what seems an innocuous image might trigger off a really violent reaction so I just play safe all the time.”
Got it. So, the rest of us will speak out against terrorism, and you can speak out against...cheap gallery opening wine?
That's why there's such a disconnect between the pyrotechnical outrage over waterboarding and the comparatively blase treatment of real torture. King's deliberate mixing of the subjects of torture and voyeurism forcibly invoked the memory of a photo so awful, and yet so sickeningly relevant, that I'm posting it only as a link. But I demand that you go look at it, especially if you're one of the ones who rant about waterboarding as torture and believe that our media are more disposed to flaunt sexuality than cover "substantive" matters like egregious human rights violations.
Here's the link. Here's the story that documents the facts:“At first, they kept Ms. Wang in isolation. Two collaborators monitored her. She was denied sleep and forced to stand still in the corner of the room. The next day, she had to sit on a chair with her hands tied behind her back to the back of the chair. At night, they had her wear a motorcycle helmet.
“The guards kept chopsticks and a basin of cold water ready to use, and whenever Ms. Wang closed her eyes, they poured water over her and hit the helmet hard with the chopsticks.
Sound a bit like waterboarding? Unspeakable. Where's Amnesty International? Where's the New York Times? Somebody should do something. Somebody did. Her guards.“Two guards from Benxi, holding electric batons, shouted, “We will see who is tougher!” The two men tore Ms. Wang’s shirt open and shocked her breasts with two electric batons for 30 minutes.
“Afterwards, they made her stand still for the entire night. The next morning, guard Guo Tieying asked Ms. Wang nastily whom she would follow. Ms. Wang replied, “I will follow the teachings of Falun Gong.”
“Guo Tieying immediately brought in two guards and several collaborators to torture her. They tore a bed sheet into strips and tied her legs in a cross-legged position (with legs double-crossed, as in the ‘full lotus’ position). Next they handcuffed her arms behind her back and tied her upper body to her legs, making Ms. Wang look like a ball. Then they suspended her in the air by the handcuffs, with her hands still behind her back.
“She suffered excruciating pain from this torture for seven hours.
“Afterwards, Ms. Wang could no longer walk with her back straight, but was bent over, nor could she sit straight. Her breasts were disfigured by the intense shocks, and eventually developed serious infections.”
So, all you hyper-moral pacifist purists, if you could learn Ms. Wang's location and save her by waterboarding a captured guard, would you do it? Or is her permanent crippling and disfigurement a satisfactory consequence of your own personal interpretation of right and wrong? That's what you seem to be saying by your absolute opposition to any form of physical coercion, even if it doesn't maim or kill.
But if that's really your position, then you've entered the paradox zone. You have to explain -- to your own satisfaction -- why it is less moral to commit a lesser crime in order to prevent a larger crime than it is to enable a larger crime by refusing to commit a lesser crime. You can't allow the SWAT sniper to shoot the kidnapper who's holding a knife to your spouse's throat. You can't acquit the woman who kills her rapist in an act of self defense. You can't acquit the father who kills a child-molester in the act of sodomizing his infant daughter. In all these examples the killers are guilty of the same order of crime you're too moral to commit.
What's really odd is that the reputedly moral stance against any form of torture is so often adopted by the so-called progressives who are so busily insisting on atheism as a superior philosophical stance for the national culture. The anti-waterboarding lobby probably has more members in common with Richard Dawkins's anti-God army than with the backward Christian soldiers who are willing to torture a terrorist to save a city. But it's the Christians who are risking irrational damnation. The rationalists are defying their own devotion to mathematics as the ruling principle by refusing to take personal responsibility for a reprehensible act by one unit on behalf of millions of other units of their own species. Ironically, such sacrifices make more empirical sense in a godless universe than in a divinely judged universe in which death is not the final, fatal end of accountability.
The thing is, in reality, all of these philosophical paradoxes are beside the point. It's all so much simpler than that if we're a nation of brainless, characterless, spread-legged cows like Britney, Lindsey, and Paris. All the harping on waterboarding is undertaken in the certainty that most of us know we couldn't withstand even as mild a form of torture as this. In fact, waterboarding is about as far as our individual imaginations can take us. We're better able to envision not being able to breathe for a few seconds than to comprehend unanesthetized castration with a dull knife or public limb-by-limb amputation followed by disembowelment or -- well, something truly impossible -- like being beheaded live (!) on videotape by a religious fanatic with a rusty pruning saw.
If we can't imagine surviving it or doing it ourselves, that's supposed to be the end of the discussion. In the progressive egalitarian model, all people are basically the same. Regardless of our origins and cultures, we're no better and no worse than anyone else. If we couldn't commit acts of deliberate premeditated cruelty, neither could anyone else. Unless the evil handful of real oppressors in the world provoked us beyond endurance. So if ordinary people are committing acts of savage violence, it must be because of that handful of real oppressors, who are objectively evil -- because their crimes, even if they are nominally lesser, are codified and cold-blooded rather than spontaneous and passionate. The waterboarding of the oppressors is worse than the beheadings and mutilations of the universal everyman. There's no basis for comparison at all. Thus, no comparisons will be drawn.
But there's a hole in the egalitarian facade that is perfectly exemplified by Stephen King. Here's a man who has no problem at all with imagining in vivid detail the very worst things that can be done to a human being. Yet he still pretends that waterboarding is worse than any crime committed by the devotedly savage among us. His outrage about waterboarding has to be a pose. His suggestion that Jenna Bush be waterboarded for the purpose of humiliating his political nemeses is both hypocrtical and voyeuristic. And Time Magazine's willingness to give him print space without interrogating his lifelong penchant for sadism is evidence of the phony moralism of those who presume to be our philosophical mentors.
So: How do you pussies feel about all the MSM's Britney-Lindsey-Paris crotch shots (still NSFW) now that you know you're really leering at a portrait of what you've become? Don't know what to say? I'm sure America's Dickens would be happy to explain it to you better than I can.
I wish I had said that.
The evidence that al-Qaida has suffered a major strategic information defeat in Iraq continues to mount. StrategyPage.com noted on Oct. 27, 2005, that "the Moslem media is less and less willing to be an apologist for al-Qaida, at least when it comes to killing Moslem civilians" and that the Iraqi media in particular "really has it in for al-Qaida." On Oct. 1, 2006, StrategyPage.com argued that "dead Iraqis were killing al-Qaida. ... Westerners, unless they observe Arab media closely, and have contacts inside the Arab world, will not have noted this sharp drop in al-Qaida's fortunes."
Within the last three months, the "trend" (made of incremental successes) has become "fact."
Is this victory in Iraq? No. But it suggests we've won a major battle with potentially global significance. What the Pentagon calls "the governmental (political participation and structure building), information (intel, media and political perception) and economic (economic development, infrastructure creation) lines of operation" will ultimately secure victory in Iraq, and these operations will take another six to eight years of effort.
To Whom It May Concern (firstname.lastname@example.org):
I was searching for scholarships at USC and found the following information on a "Black Alumni Association/Ebonics Support GroupScholarship" at The University of Southern California. In order to be eligible, one must be a "currently enrolled USC African-American." You also note that "undergraduate and graduate students are eligible" for the award of $500 to $3,000.
This is distressing because I am white but I am, nonetheless, fluent in ebonics. Would you consider making an exception?
Read the rest...
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Is the media always wrong? Well.....99%?
The Media on Drugs
By SIDNEY TAUREL
November 27, 2007; Page A19
When it comes to describing the benefits and risks of prescription drugs, the hyper-competitive, around-the-clock media is rarely at its best. Call the following a case study in the challenge of doing right by doctors and patients -- in spite of the need to feed the media beast with copy.
Our story starts Oct. 24, when several media outlets reported that Eli Lilly and Company had halted two clinical trials for the drug prasugrel -- a possible new therapy for heart-attack patients that Lilly is developing with Daiichi Sankyo. The speculation that followed these reports was that the drug must have failed its initial trials. Within a few days the market capitalization of Eli Lilly fell by about $6 billion.
This speculation was unfounded and, incidentally, false. In early November, the academic TIMI Study Group announced the results of a massive clinical trial showing that prasugrel produced significant improvements in patient outcomes compared with current treatments.
Specifically, the trial, known as TRITON, showed that prasugrel produced a 19% reduction in relative risk for cardiovascular death, nonfatal heart attack, or nonfatal stroke when compared with the drug clopidogrel -- today's standard of care -- and had a favorable benefit-risk profile in a large majority of patients.
Statistical data can be interpreted in different ways. Some experts will reach more nuanced or skeptical conclusions about TRITON. But a Duke University cardiologist told this newspaper, after seeing the trial's results, "If you can't get a drug on the market with that kind of data, we should stop developing drugs."
So what happened in those days after Oct. 24? Lilly's goal was to turn over our prasugrel findings to doctors in a manner that left no doubt as to their scientific rigor and completeness. This meant publishing the findings in a highly respected journal and discussing them directly with top cardiologists, ahead of mass-media reporting. We decided to present these findings to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association (AHA) on Nov. 4.
NEJM and AHA asked for promises from Lilly and its partners, and we agreed, not to disclose any of the results of TRITON prior to Nov. 4. Such guarantees of exclusivity are not only common, but also appropriate, in focusing expert attention on important research. A definitive source and a "zero hour" of first-hand disclosure for complex scientific data help to limit misinformation.
Doctors and scientists at Lilly and Daiichi Sankyo, of course, had begun to analyze the results of TRITON in the weeks leading up to the AHA meeting. In addition to showing strong efficacy, the data also showed that in three small subgroups of patients, the drug at its current dosage raised the risk of major bleeding relative to its effect on preventing heart attacks.
Lilly had two small clinical trials of prasugrel underway for different research purposes, and we had received no reports of safety concerns from them. But when we saw the TRITON results, we put patients first. Based on the small chance that patients in the three identified subgroups might be given prasugrel and experience serious bleeding, we advised our researchers to suspend the two trials pending a review.
Enter the beast. Ten days before our "zero hour," word leaked out, causing us to confirm that the two prasugrel trials had been suspended, although our promises to NEJM and AHA prevented us from explaining why. The media entered a feeding frenzy, catered by commentators on Wall Street and elsewhere who speculated that prasugrel posed broad risks and had probably failed its major trial. Our stock began its trip south and, more seriously, some doctors and patients were left with false impressions.
Unveiling the data at AHA brought some relief. Still swimming against the tide of rumor, a few stories distorted the TRITON results, but most were balanced. In the end, the Food and Drug Administration will not rely on media reports to reach approval decisions. Lilly is confident that prasugrel will be given a chance to help patients on a large scale.
There are a few lessons here that need to be learned. For the pharmaceutical industry: Preserving the integrity of scientific data and protecting the safety of patients are always the right choices. Stock prices recover but trust is much harder to regain. Trust hinges on our openness in sharing everything we know about who should use our products -- along with when, how and at what dose -- and who should not.
For the media, if I may be so bold: Don't trade in leaks and rumors where scientific data are concerned. Damage to public understanding is hard to repair after it's been done. Wait for real numbers, and take the time to explain statistics and benefit-risk analysis, which cannot be conveyed in sound bites alone. And for would-be pundits: If you have not had firsthand exposure to the scientific results or specialized knowledge under discussion, then qualify your comments if you must make them at all.
We all have a stake in taming this beast -- not for the sake of any company or individual discovery, but for the sake of those who ultimately rely on accurate information for the care of patients.
Mr. Taurel is chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly and Company.
Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Justice is defending a sentence of 200 lashes for the victim of a gang rape, punished because she was in the car of a male who wasn't a relative when the two were attacked.
Read the rest as she tells her story.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Richard Hayes, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society in Oakland, explains in an admirable Los Angeles Times article that many scientists who opposed embryonic stem cell research on various grounds were reluctant to say so until now: they didn't want to be seen helping President Bush politically. Hayes' candor is commendable, but the scientists' motives it perhaps unintentionally betrays are craven. It is, in truth, an indictment of the current politicization of science.
This is a serious matter. We can all be thrilled that new technology seems likely to make the use of human embryos an unnecessary source for stem cell production in research. It is a victory for human life and for common sense in laboratory science. Politically, it takes off the table an issue that hurt conservatives and that the materialist Left has been using as part of an attack on pro-life forces, whom they represent as "anti-science." It was slated to become a major theme in the 2008 elections.
But politics should not trump everything else. If scientists who were skeptical of embryonic stem cell research remained silent for essentially political reasons or were influenced by the big bucks that were behind efforts in California and Missouri to use taxpayer funds to support embryonic stem cell research, they should be chagrined now. They let their politics take precedence over their calling as scientists.
Politics was definitely at play in Missouri, for example, where the issue of stem cells on a state ballot measure was used to defeat conservatives. It was a real "wedge" issue. You can understand why the Left deployed it; polls showed 2 to 1 public acceptance of embryonic stem cell research. But that doesn't let scientists who knew better off the hook, does it? It is appalling that some scientists privately opposed embryonic stem cell research on what they might regard as liberal grounds--such as the program's exploitation of poor women for their eggs--still were guided chiefly by political correctness and kept their peace. Some others surely would have spoken out if the media had asked them. But most of the media, too, are P.C., of course.
So, on how many other issues are dissenting scientists holding their fire because they don't want to be seen helping President Bush or social conservatives? How about end of life issues? How about Darwin's theory of evolution, the sacred writ of materialism?
In some periods of history courage is demanded of statesmen, or military men, or even economists. In our period, we need scientists to show the courage of their private convictions on the whole range of issues that pertain to human dignity and distinctive worth.
Most informed Americans have heard about "anger management counseling." It is a widely prescribed therapy for those who lose their temper uncontrollably in public or in private or while watching the Hon. Henry Waxman pretend to be the late Andrei Vyshinsky, prosecutor at the Moscow Show Trials. Well, during the past few days I have been following the Hon. Jean-Francois Kerry's (D-Mass.) controversy with Boone Pickens, and I believe I am in need of "laughter management counseling." Every time I think of this ponderous stone-headed senator bellowing phony pieties, I suffer a dreadful agitation in the funny bone. I only hope that my health insurance is applicable.
As reported late last week, billionaire investor and environmentalist Boone Pickens, during an address at The American Spectator's 40th Anniversary Gala, promised to pay $1 million to anyone who could find error in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads, which he helped bankroll in 2004. The ads were produced to expose the braggart Kerry's incautious claims about his service during the Vietnam War -- that would be the war Kerry participated in briefly before coming home and traducing his fellow comrades in arms with vicious lies and distortions before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. Remember his more recent claim that he supported our war in Iraq before he opposed it? Inconstancy is in his DNA.
Pickens is perplexed that the majority of Kerry's fellow Swift Boat pilots from Vietnam, who considered Lt. Kerry a ham and a fraud while serving with them and a louse when he maligned them, have been made out to be liars. In our political culture, polluted as it is by liberal bugaboos and shibboleths (we call it the Kultursmog), "Swift Boat" has become a hate term not unlike "McCarthyism." In the Kultursmog it has come to mean destroying a person by misrepresenting the person's record. But the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did not misrepresent Kerry's hoked up record, not in their ads, one of which presented a tape of Kerry's lurid testimony before the Senate. Pickens knows the ads were accurate, and he wants to demonstrate to the American people that they were. Send him the errors in the ads, and he will send you a cool million.
His challenge was not out in the media for more than a few hours than the Great Massachusetts Braggart responded with a letter to Pickens. Typically it is rude, beginning brusquely with "Mr. Pickens," no Dear Mr. Pickens for Kerry. The letter is also delusional. Kerry writes as though by acknowledging Pickens's challenge he is entitled to the $1 million. "While I am prepared to show they," Kerry writes of the Swift Boat Veterans, "lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt." In Kerry's next sentence he tells Pickens where to send the check. I kid thee not.
Kerry's presumptuous letter has gotten plenty of attention in the media, but nowhere have I seen it pointed out that Kerry has offered absolutely no evidence that his Swift Boat critics lied. In fact, he has yet to state what the critics' errors might have been in their ads. Pickens responded immediately, politely asking to see the journal allegedly maintained by Kerry in Vietnam and "Your military record, specifically your service records for the years 1971-1978, and copies of all movies and tapes made during your service."
As I said earlier, Kerry was a shameless ham in Vietnam and he remains one. At this writing Kerry has failed even to reply to Pickens, perhaps with good reason, Pickens ended his letter by asking Kerry to make a "commitment. If you cannot prove anything in the Swift Boat ads to be untrue...make a $1 million gift to the charity I am choosing -- the Medal of Honor Foundation." Both men are very rich. Pickens made his fortune by years of brilliant investments. He is one of the world's leading authorities on oil. Kerry made his fortune by marrying it, twice -- most recently to a woman who made her fortune similarly, through marriage.
Kerry has been whining about the rough treatment he received from his former comrades ever since they exposed him in the 2004 election. All the guff in his letter is typical of him: boastful, presumptuous, sophistical. Henceforth, I think I shall forego teasing him about his Francophile pretensions by calling him Jean-Francois. Rather, I shall call him Crybaby Kerry. Moreover, I shall start a clock on The American Spectator's website (www.spectator.org) and let it tick until Crybaby Kerry supplies Pickens with his Vietnam journal, his military records, and proof that the Swift Boat Veterans lied in their ads. Oh, and let us keep the Crybaby Kerry clock ticking until he comes up with his $1 million for the Medal of Honor Foundation. Upon filing this column my Crybaby Clock will begin ticking at Spectator.org. Now if only I could get my laughter under control.
:...Chavez has hurt his standing by shutting an opposition TV station and failing to end some food shortages.
Amanda Aguilar, 17, was in line at 5:30 a.m. waiting for a food store to open to buy her single, rationed carton of milk.
And here are pictures of food lines in Venezuela...
What do American courts have in common with the revolutionaries who gave France the “Terror?”
But for students of history, the French Revolution that overthrew the monarchy is a fascinating study of human nature freed of all restraint. It was a time in which a group of men – primarily lawyers – were given the power to reshape society and all its institutions.
Out with the old, in with the new has never been as thoroughly established as a philosophy of governing. The old were “shortened” by the guillotine, shot, beaten to death and their heads paraded around on pikes. Religion was not just disestablished, it was outlawed. Even the measurement of time was changed.
Eventually even the lower classes found themselves worse off than under the old regime and in fear of their lives so they eagerly embraced the dictatorship of Napoleon; the same Napoleon who changed the game of war. No longer were wars the playthings of Princes using hired mercenaries in wars that were as stylized as chess. Now armies were made up of mass conscripts who clashed in battles that left tens of thousands dead, cities burned and nations dismembered.
But I digress.
Because I find history endlessly fascinating, I was re-reading “The Age of Napoleon” by Will and Ariel Durant. It’s a magisterial review of that era and part 11 of their series “The Story of Civilization.” That period is at once tragic, bloody, revealing and inspiring. It illuminates the men (and women) who made that era and gives us glimpses of the depravity and violence of that time.
Until the “Revolution,” education was the province of the Church. After the Revolution, the State took over that function. As the revolutionary government was violently anti-clerical, on October 8, 1798 sent the schools the following instructions:
You must exclude from your teaching all that relates to the dogmas or rites of any religion or sect whatever. The Constitution certainly tolerates them, but the teaching of them is not part of the public instruction, nor can it ever be. He Constitution is founded on the basis of universal morality; and it is morality of all times, all places, all religions – this law engraven on the tablets of the human family – it is this that must be the soul of your teaching, the object of your precepts and the connecting link to your studies, as it is the binding knot of society.
The Durants then state:
Here clearly put, was one of the most difficult enterprises of the Revolution, as it is one of the difficult problems of our time: to build a social order upon a system of morality independent of religious belief. Napoleon was to judge the proposal impracticable; America was to cleave to it till our time.Their comment about Napoleon was correct. I take issue with their comment about America.
Americans has never felt any reason for the militant anti-clericalism that consumed France after the revolution. American schools have, until fairly recently, accepted the premise that we were a "Christian” nation in a practical if not an official sense. Spare me the protestations about the particular theologies of the Founders; to deny the overwhelmingly Christian nature of the people in this country since its founding is simply silly. Thus we, as a society, have – like a fish in an ocean – swum in an ethical and moral environment that is essentially Christian in virtually all respects.
Only recently have the courts and schools tried to create an educational environment that rejects Christianity and tries to substitute for that an alternative: call it ethical humanism or, as the French revolutionaries did, “universal morality;” it aims to supplant Christian morality by suppressing all expressions of that faith.
The eradication of Christianity from education has not had an immediate dramatic impact on American society because, outside of school, children are still immersed in a society enriched by the penumbras and emanations of faith. But secular forces in society are busy working remove that faith-suffused sea in which we swim. In Europe, that process if far advanced.
The French revolution provided an experiment in a petrie dish of what happens when all manifestations of supernatural religions are removed from a society and men are provided with the opportunity to create their own morality. For an actual example of what that kind of a society is like, read “The Age of Napoleon.”
Friday, November 23, 2007
The once-dreaded Al Qaeda in Iraq stronghold of Amariyah has a new boss, and he's not shy about telling the story of the shootout that turned him into a local legend and helped change the tenor of the Iraq war.
Earlier this year, Abul Abed, a disgruntled Sunni insurgent leader, began secret talks with the Americans about ending Al Qaeda's reign of terror in this run-down, formerly middle-class Baghdad neighborhood, renowned as one of the city's most dangerous. He had been gathering intelligence on the group for months.One day in late May, he said, he decided it was time to act.
He hailed the car carrying the feared leader of Al Qaeda in the neighborhood, a man known as the White Lion, on one of Amariyah's main streets. "We want you to stop destroying our neighborhood," he told the man.
"Do you know who you are talking to?" said the White Lion, getting out of his car. "I am Al Qaeda. I will destroy even your own houses!"He pulled out his pistol and shot at Abul Abed. The gun jammed. He reloaded and fired again. Again, the gun jammed.By this time, Abul Abed said, he had pulled his own gun. He fired once, killing the White Lion.
Read the rest.
Both K-Lo and Glenn Reynolds were kind enough to point out the article on the lefty moralists who see children as 'selfish' and the ultimate downfall of the planet.
"Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco-friendly"
The girl who is the prime example in this story, Toni, has the following to say:
"Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."
To take that lefty line of thinking to it's logical extreme would say that "every person who dies uses less food/water/etc..."
So, I guess it is no wonder that the left loves guys like Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, and any other commie dictator. Based on the number of people they have killed, they are enviro-heroes!
Would the left consider mass graves or the Killing Fields to be Carbon Offsets?
Anyone want to bet that our girl Toni has a Che T-Shirt somewhere in her wardrobe?
From the recent news it's looking like Jacques may need a pardon soon, who better to befriend then a Clinton then huh?
U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won surprise backing from the wife of former French President Jacques Chirac on Thursday, together with a pledge to join her on the campaign trail.
It's very easy to fall behind the times. It is for this reason that you find parents who never seem to really know what the younger generation is involved in, older folks who still act as if a hot dog should be 10 cents, and people who fight yesterday's social battles. As to the last thing, there are those who ask if a woman can be elected president.
The real question is, can a man running against a woman be elected president?
With androgyny being the order of the day, it has often been lamented that men no longer know what is expected of them. Is being chivalrous courteous or condescending? Do I hold the door or let her roar? A similar quandary is apparent when watching the men who must run against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
When Clinton stumbled in the second to last Democrat debate, her opponents' immediate political instincts were to attack the front-runner's now exposed weak flank. This is what office-seekers do; it's why the military term "campaign" is applied to political contests.
Yet almost as soon as the post-debate analysis began we heard the inevitable accusation that all and sundry were conspiring against the lone girl. The moderator, the other candidates, the butcher, baker, candlestick-maker and probably even male chauvinists beyond the grave were experiencing testosterone boil-over.
With the suddenly chivalrous media doing the heavy lifting, Clinton herself didn't have to say much, but she still wasted no time deftly playing the downtrodden woman card. At Wellesley College she remarked that presidential politics was an "all boys club" while campaign surrogates whispered about "sexism." Sure, she soon after took the high road and said the attacks were due to her front-runner status and not her chromosome configuration, but be not fooled.
That's the genius of it.
Subtly play upon the premise that women can never get a fair shake while your public relations team -- otherwise known as the US media -- pounds that drum hard, then soldier on nobly. As the cherry on top, have suddenly chivalrous husband Bill find time between mistresses to feign anger and say you're being "Swift-boated" because you never won the medal of maleness. Then millions will say, "Oh, what heroic virtue! She is a victim of the old boy network and by all rights could cry foul, but she merely endeavors to persevere. Class as well as courage."
This brings us to the problem confronted by the men: They're damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they don't attack Clinton, her faults remain hidden and she cruises to the nomination; if they do attack, they are faulted for hitting girls and she cruises to the nomination. They're between a feminist heart and a hard place.
Read the rest.
The party that identifies itself as home to labor unions and middle-class families might be in for a wake-up call. A recent report from The Heritage Foundation says that the Democratic Party is the new "party of the rich."
A review of Internal Revenue Service data conducted by Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at Heritage — a conservative think-tank — found that Democrats control the majority of the country's wealthiest congressional jurisdictions, and that more than half of the most affluent households are located in the 18 states where Democrats control both Senate seats.
Click here to read the article.
The review of income data also found that some of the Democratic Party's key leaders represent far more affluent constituents than their GOP counterparts.
Franc found that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has more than 43,700 high-end households in her district; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland has almost 19,000. By contrast, House Minority Leader John Boehner's Ohio district has fewer than 7,000 such homes.
The Heritage Foundation looked at two categories of taxpayers for the review: singe filers with income above $100,000 and married filers with income above $200,000.
President Sarkozy of France is on the verge of a breakthrough in his ambitious plan to wean his country off the restrictive working practices he believes stand in the way of national prosperity.
Yesterday, the strike of rail and subway workers that has crippled France for nine days was clearly crumbling, as workers began returning to work in large numbers and union branches conceded that support for the dispute is collapsing.
"We think a dynamic of return to work has begun," Julie Vion, a spokeswoman for France's state-owned railroad network, SNCF, said.
Union leaders began to concede defeat yesterday. "We have to face reality. Since yesterday's negotiations, things have changed. The strike is no longer the solution. The strike strategy is no longer winning," a leader of the Sud union representing Paris underground railway workers, Philippe Touzet, said in an interview with Bloomberg News.
The collapse of support for the strike by individual rail workers marks the first success in what Mr. Sarkozy considers the key goal of his presidency, the abandonment of expensive entitlements and special conditions for public sector workers, including generous early retirement and pension benefits for half a million rail workers, which he believes make France uncompetitive.
Managers for SNCF announced yesterday that 42 out of 45 rail union committees have voted to abandon the national strike that has frozen the country's economy, and will return to work without delay.
Sarkozy may well be the Margaret Thatcher of France.
On Sunday, Times readers learned that despite this year's historic revolt of normal Americans against amnesty for illegal aliens: "Some polls show that the majority of Americans agree with proposals backed by most Democrats in the Senate, as well as some Republicans, to establish a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally."
Was the reporter who wrote that sentence the Darfur bureau chief for the past year? By "some polls," I gather he means "a show of hands during a meeting of the Times editorial board" or "a quick backstage survey in the MSNBC greenroom."
As I believe Americans made resoundingly clear this year, the only "path to citizenship" they favor involves making an application from Norway, waiting a few years and then coming over when it's legal.
Americans were so emphatic on this point that they forced a sitting president to withdraw his signature legislative accomplishment for his second term -- amnesty for illegal aliens, aka a "path to citizenship" for illegals.
Read the rest.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
When most of us look at income statistics, we are not just being numbers junkies. We want to find out something about actual flesh-and-blood human beings — specifically what their standard of living is like.
But you cannot always just take statistics at face value — or, worse yet, with the spin that politicians and the media put on them.
Income, for example, is not the same as earnings, and neither is the same as the economic resources on which people’s standard of living is based.
Since most of us get our income by earning it, it might seem that any difference between income and earnings would just be some technicality that only economists or accountants would bother with.
In reality, the difference can be huge, depending on the income bracket and the age of the individual.
Most of the income received by people 65 years old and up is not counted statistically as earnings. Only 24 percent of their incomes are earnings. Most of their incomes are from pensions or other sources known as “unearned income,” such as returns on investments.
It should hardly be surprising that people who have been around a long time would have accumulated more money in the bank and maybe have a little nest egg in a mutual fund, each of which provides a stream of income during their retirement years, even if that income does not get counted as earnings.
Despite a drumbeat of political rhetoric depicting the elderly as being in dire economic conditions, the actual incomes of the elderly are more than four times what their earnings statistics might suggest — or what politicians can claim, citing those statistics.
When it comes to wealth, the average net worth of people 65 years old and up is several times that of people under the age of 45. The highest average net worth in any age bracket belongs to households headed by people aged 70 to 74.
Although income is often confused with wealth, as when people currently in high income brackets are referred to as “rich,” the elderly average lower income than middle-aged people, but more wealth.
Since 80 percent of the people who are 65 and up are either homeowners or home buyers, their housing costs tend to be lower. Among those 80 percent, their median monthly housing costs in 2001 averaged just $339 a month.
That includes property taxes, utilities, maintenance costs, condominium, and association costs for people with such living arrangements, and mortgage payments for those who do not own their homes outright.
There are of course some elderly people who are poor, just as there are some poor people in every age bracket. But statistics cited by politicians, journalists, and others who inflate the number of the poor need both scrutiny and skepticism.
The elderly are not the only people whose standard of living is grossly understated by those who cite statistics on earnings or income.
Those statistics do not include income received by low-income people as transfer payments from the government, such as welfare checks, much less various in-kind transfers, such as subsidized housing and subsidized medical care.
As of 2001, about 78 percent of the economic resources used by people in the bottom 20 percent of income recipients were in the form of either cash transfers or in-kind transfers.
To judge the standard of living of low-income people by income statistics is to leave out more than three-quarters of the economic resources used by them.
It is understandable that those who have either a political or an ideological vested interest in exaggerating the numbers of “the poor” would use statistics that greatly understate the standard of living of low-income people, as well as that of the elderly.
But that is all the more reason for the rest of us to be aware of what statistics do and do not mean — and beware of those who want us to believe the worst, whether for their own political advantage or because that fits their ideological vision.