Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Banal Cardinal

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony was attacked on the street in July. He spoke about it at a recent conference of priests.

Mahony told the priests that the man began shouting expletives and knocked him to the ground. It took a month for his injuries to heal after the attack.

He said it gave him a deeper understanding of the suffering endured by victims of the nationwide scandal.

For those who do not know Cardinal Mahony or his Al Sharpton-like beeline toward any camera or microphone that habitually puts innocents in danger of being trampled to death, it seems almost fitting that someone should knock him down. For his arrogance. His lack of piety. His disgraceful politicking. His unsuitability to be a priest, let alone a cardinal. He is a discredit to the Church and, suitably, he represents the Los Angeles diocese that agreed to make a record payout to more than 500 victims.

Mahony is, at heart, a social worker. Pity that he oversees one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in the country. No wonder the Catholic church is in decline.

Catholic Cardinal Mahony Slams House Bill HR 4437: Tells Bush That Priests Will Not Verify Legal Status
Cardinal Untruths: Mahony’s testimony in sex scandal clashes with earlier statements and reality
Mahony's tainted legacy
Just Google any topic and Mahony and you get the idea.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Who do you trust?

What an understatement.

It's from a Harvard study.
Key among the findings according to E&P:
• 64% of those polled do not trust press coverage of the presidential campaign.
• 88% believe that campaign coverage focuses on trivial issues.
• 84% believe that media coverage has too much influence on American voting choices.
• 92% say it is important that the news media provide information on candidates’ specific policy plans, but 61% say the media does not provide enough coverage of policy plans.
• 89% say it is important to hear about candidates’ personal values and ethics, but 43% say there is not enough coverage of personal values and ethics.

Instead, those surveyed claimed they were getting "exactly the type of campaign coverage that they want the least," the report found.

Seventy percent of those polled said coverage of negative ads was not important and 65% said the media provided too much coverage of them; 67% say that coverage of “gotcha” moments — candidates’ embarrassing incidents and mistakes — was not important and 68% say there was too much coverage of those moments.
Unlike Editor & Publisher, I know how to link.

What E&P missed because Greg Mitchell, the editor of E&P is still having those anti-war flashbacks to the 60s.

The national leadership index asks the question, "How much confidence do you have in the leadership of the following sectors?" (Pg 3)
1 = None at all 4 = Great deal

Military = 3.15
Medical = 3.02
Supreme Court = 2.90
The bottom? The press = 2.26 (lower than the White House)

Top key findings the study highlighted?
•The only sectors of leadership in which Americans have more than a moderate amount of confidence are military and medical leadership
• For the third year in a row, military leadership inspires the most confidence and leadership in the press the least confidence

SECTION 2 , titled, "Memo to the Press" (pg 4)

Leaders in the press have inspired less confidence than leaders in any other sector during each of the three years of the National Leadership Index (2005-2007). Given the central role of the news media in covering presidential politics, Americans were asked how they felt about media coverage of the 2008 campaign.
64% did not trust
34% trust

A total of 1,207 respondents were interviewed.
The interviews were conducted from September 4 –17, 2007. Calls were made weeknights
from 5:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon–6:00 p.m. in each local
time zone. The response rate was 23%.

In other words, 77% of the people hung up on them or declined to participate.

How come polls never ask the really important question, "Do you trust polls?" Perhaps because they're afraid of the answer. The refusal rate answers the question.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bad News

Are these stories related, or what???!!!

From Editor & Publisher, the Dutch-owned, self-described, "America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry" is news of some changes at the LA Times.

'LA Times' Creates Reader Representative's Blog
Editor James O'Shea said, "The ongoing changes reflect The Times overarching goal of becoming a more transparent and integrated news organization. Most important, we're further opening the lines of communication with our readers and using new ways to make the newsroom more accessible."
Naturally, Editor & Publisher does not provide a link to the new blog or the press release about the changes. The theory is that once you leave Editor & Publisher, you really don't want to return to that smarmy publication.

The new blog can be found here.

The other story at Editor & Publisher? "Tribune Co. Revenue Dropped 9.3% In October" and even then, E&P forgot to note the redline misery in the stock value <----- and national sales <------ . (From CNN Money)
  • Circulation revenue fell more than 6 percent because of declines in single-copy sales and discounts for home delivery, the Tribune said.
  • Shares in the company fell $1.23, or 4.3 percent, to $27.37 <-------
  • Publishing revenue in October dropped 7.9 percent to $287 million, with
  • ad revenue sliding 10.6 percent to $222 million.
  • National ad sales dipped 2.3 percent with softness in auto, transportation and technology categories partially offset by an increase in the movie category. <-------
  • Classified ad sales slumped 19.2 percent, as real estate tumbled 26.9 percent on significant dropoffs in Los Angeles, Chicago and Florida.
  • Help wanted ad revenue declined 21.7 percent and
  • automotive fell 4.9 percent.
  • Interactive sales were a bright spot, rising 11.4 percent to $22 million.
  • Retail advertising sales slid 7.8 percent as declines in department stores, amusements and electronic categories were partially offset by a rise in the health care category.
  • Broadcasting and entertainment revenue slipped 13.3 percent to $96 million on declines in television group revenue and Chicago Cubs revenue.
  • Television revenue fell 7.1 percent on dropoffs in political, movies and retail, partially offset by strength in food/packaged goods, telecom and restaurant/fast food categories.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Foney Falafel Fable

The FBI responded to an article in the Congressional Quarterly alleging that the FBI had a program to monitor the sales of Middle Eastern food products in the San Francisco Bay area in support of counterterrorism intelligence gathering.

They don't. As John MillerAssistant Director, Office of Public Affairs, wrote,
Having never heard of this, I spoke to the counterterrorism managers, who in the story were identified as having hatched the plan, as well as everyone else who would have had any knowledge of it. Nobody did. At one point in the story, writer Jeff Stein opines “as ridiculous as it sounds,” in reference to the alleged food monitoring plan, which reportedly was described to Mr. Stein by “well-informed sources.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hiring spies to be spies

Nov 13, 2007 - This story will be underreported.
An illegal immigrant from Lebanon with ties to the militant Islamic group Hezbollah lied her way through background checks to become an agent for both the FBI and CIA, and then used her position to obtain information about her relatives and a U.S. investigation into the group, authorities said Tuesday.
Nada Nadim Prouty, 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, unauthorized computer access and naturalization fraud in federal court in Detroit and agreed to cooperate with authorities in an investigation into the security breaches.

Prouty’s case is a major embarrassment for the FBI and CIA, which supposedly had tightened their screening and monitoring of personnel after CIA officer Aldrich Ames and FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen were caught selling secrets to foreign governments. But officials stressed that the investigation has not uncovered any evidence that Prouty gave Hezbollah or its operatives classified information.

Law enforcement officials said a multi-agency probe is underway to determine how the breaches occurred and what Prouty might have done with the information she accessed from FBI computers and whether she obtained information from the CIA.

“It is hard to imagine a greater threat than the situation where a foreign national uses fraud to attain citizenship and then, based on that fraud insinuates herself into a sensitive position in the U.S. government,” U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy in Detroit said in a statement.

In her signed plea agreement, Prouty admitted to accessing FBI computer files on Hezbollah first in 2000 and again in 2003, when she accessed case files into a top-secret national security investigation into the militant group that was being conducted by the FBI.

At the time, Prouty’s brother-in-law was a suspected Hezbollah operative who owned a Detroit restaurant where Prouty had worked as a waitress and was suspected of having strong ties to senior Hezbollah officials in Lebanon, the group’s headquarters.

Prouty also was accused of improperly taking classified information home with her while at the FBI and of working with other Lebanese nationals in what appeared to be a conspiracy to gain U.S. citizenship through fraudulent marriages and then to obtain government law enforcement, intelligence and military jobs with security clearances.

The investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, with assistance from the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and the Internal Revenue Service, officials said. ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said it was too early to say what kind of security breaches might have been involved.
The breaches seem severe just from what they know now.
The U.S. government has designated Hezbollah, also known as the “Party of God,” as a global terrorist organization. The Shiite group also has financial ties and other links to Iran. Hezbollah also has had a significant fundraising presence in the United States, particularly within large Middle Eastern enclaves in cities such as Detroit and Dearborn, Mich.

Prouty came to one of those enclaves in Michigan in 1989 on a one-year, non-immigrant student visa. After overstaying her visa, she obtained a fraudulent marriage in 1990 by paying an unemployed U.S. citizen in Detroit to marry her, court records state.

From there, Prouty forged her way into obtaining U.S. citizenship and worked as a waitress and hostess at a Middle Eastern restaurant chain called La Shish Inc. that was owned by a suspected Hezbollah operative named Talal Khalil Chahine. Chahine even wrote a letter for submission into Prouty’s immigration file attesting to the validity of Prouty’s false marriage, the court papers said.

In 1999, Prouty was hired by the FBI as a sworn agent and sent to its Washington, D.C., field office, where she worked on a squad that investigates crimes against citizens working overseas. She was not assigned to work on investigations involving Hezbollah.

The next year, Prouty’s sister, Elfat El Aouar, married Chahine. And less than a month later, Prouty accessed the FBI case management system, “without authorization, and beyond her authorized access,” to query her own name and that of her sister and Chahine. She also began taking “an unknown quantity” of classified information home with her, against FBI policy, court records state.

In August 2002, Prouty’s sister and Chahine attended a fundraising event in Lebanon where the keynote speakers were Hezbollah leader Sheik Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah and Chahine himself, who authorities said was suspected of being a senior member of the organization.

The next summer, Prouty illegally accessed the FBI computers again. This time, she accessed the bureau’s Automated Case System to obtain information about a national security investigation into Hezbollah that was being conducted by the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, court records showed.

Later that year, Prouty joined the CIA and remained there until earlier this month.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Can you spell hubris?

Interesting article at E&P on the speech by Tom Curley, CEO of the Associated Press. As usual, E&P doesn't provide a link to his speech. They excerpt from it. These are some points he made and how they saw his message.

- Young people the world over are hungry for news. They just don’t prefer our traditional platforms and packaging.

- The first thing that has to go is the attitude. Our institutional arrogance has done more to harm us than any portal ... [That's exactly how E&P staff edited the sentence.]

- Our focus must be on becoming the very best at filling people’s 24-hour news needs. That’s a huge shift from the we-know-best, gatekeeper thinking.

Those are the points that caught my eye because they are related to that ominous note about control.
We have the power to control how our content flows on the Web. We must use that power if we’re to continue to be financially secure and independent enough to speak truth to power.
(I wasn't the only one to make note of it either. Rich Ord has an article in Webpronews.com that you don't want to miss.)

For me, however, the first thing that struck is that there's a commonality in these and it is continued hubris. The AP doesn't want people linking to their stories and they think that as robbing content. Is information copyrightable? I don't think so. Readers don't think so. It's the same old arrogance and desire to be gatekeepers. It isn't about income. If the newspaper industry and the AP wanted more income they would have dropped the attitude and long-established, no longer even deniable, bias a long time ago. A viewpoint sells. That's why blogs are beating their pants off. That's why readers will no longer pay for newspaper content.

His speech is online.

The points from it, I would have made are the
"We who rule content must start making decisions, the ones that deliver journalism for another generation of readers and viewers." And, "Enforcement, too, must be a part. What we do comes at great cost and sacrifice, even death. We believe content should have wide distribution. We intend to be compensated for it."
Rule content? What happened to dropping the hubris and the gatekeeper thinking?
"The brains are the people who can add real value whether through perspective, deeper reporting or great writing. In short, we need talent, a lot of it and some of it very different."
Odd, most online readers feel that it is the one thing missing from traditional newspapers. - independence of thought and viewpoint. Newspapers don't hire reporters for their critical thinking skills or their enthusiasm for learning. They hire them because those are the qualities they lack. It makes for the conformity dictated by editors who hire, who decide what to write, when to write and, lastly, what gets published and even the headline that banners the story.

When was the last time you knew the name of an AP reporter and followed his or her writing because it was good or because you admired their writing? They're faceless scribes reworking the stories from member papers. When you work for small men, you have to be smaller.

Clinging to the old model, Curley had this to say about editors.
Great editors connect with readers and viewers. They build -- or to use the vernacular -- aggregate audiences, big or niche, with value, social currency and, ultimately, impact on the political process or social norms.
When was the last time you even knew the name of a single editor? There are no great editors in American newspapers. The current ones who have controlled content have driven papers into near-bankruptcy because readers don't want to share attitudes. They want to make up their own minds. They want reporters to be able to do the same in order to provide facts and information they can use. In electing their politicans, in funding their schools, in determining their quality of life.

People have turned away from the newspaper industry primarily because that is an industry that wants to impact social norms. Worse,they want to dictate social norms.

That's a far cry from providing content. It's control.

And make no mistake, it's not limited to controlling content.
Lest you think we’re going off the deep end and giving it all away for free, we’re coupling those initiatives with strong new efforts to protect news web sites from unauthorized scraping through tighter site protocols and content tagging. We also hope to strike some attractive new distribution deals with valuable advertising support.
Two tenets guide us: the need to adapt our old systems and practices, especially our mindsets, in order to compete, and the need to get control over our content, so that we can take a seat at the table to set the terms for the new distribution that the search engines and Web 2.0 channels offer.
To do so, the silly man thinks the AP controls the Internet.
You can bet that if they saw a Google, a Yahoo or a Facebook, they would have figured out what to do about them. You can bet that if they found a newshound like our friend Madi Reddy in India, collecting news and tidbits to share with friends, they would have found a way to feed his obsession.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The hubris of thinking that information is a commodity to be controlled by a monopoly would be laughable if it wasn't so destructive to a democracy.

For those of us who genuinely love newspapers and the opportunity that a newspaper has to encourage reading and learning, excite wonder at exploration and the quiet thrill of the discovery of knowledge, aren't surprised at this speech. The faceless, little man who gave it epitomizes the industry thats a business, not an art. The sooner they go bankrupt, the better.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I have not labled the more than 2,153 stories in this blog and don't intend to do so. It's too time consuming.

Newspaper circulation declines

Steep circulation declines continue in the newspaper industry.

At Editor & Publisher (the Dutch-owned publication that follows the newspaper industry) - where editor Greg Mitchell perpetually proves that your brain stops growing from the acid in the 60's and where Vietnam flashbacks can occur daily and in response to every topic, at least for anti-war activists - are releasing the bad news a day ahead of the official figures.

E&P has learned that several major papers have suffered declines in daily circ of over 7%, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Miami Herald and The Dallas Morning News.

Asked for comment, publishers of these papers blamed the decreases partly on the cut back in other-paid circulation * -- which includes Newspaper in Education, hotel, and third-party copies.

And papers have been chopping distribution areas--it's too expensive to serve outlying communities, at least in print. **

Of course, some of the decline is occurring because fewer people are reading the print version. Single-copy sales, which is a barometer of paid circulation, have tumbled in recent years. This reporting period, the category is expected to decrease around 5%.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution's circulation fell about 9% for both daily and Sunday.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale was down almost 9% daily and about 6% on Sunday.

The Dallas Morning News will report on Monday that daily circ fell 7.7% while Sunday slid 7.6%
The San Diego Union-Tribune declined about 8.5% while Sunday was down about 7.9%.

Combined circulation for The Miami Herald and Nuevo Herald declined daily and Sunday about 8.4% and 12.3%, respectively.

Gains or slight increases (1%) from the St. Petersburg Times, the San Jose Mercury News, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, and The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.

The new figures will include online viewership for which readers pay, more or less, what most newspapers are worth - absolutely nothing. That this should shame the industry, and doesn't, is really part of the problem.

Except for the San Diego Union-Tribune that is a fine newspaper with responsible adults at the helm, the rest of the declines are predictable in an age of choice that includes something other than abortion.

** Other paid circulation = deeply discounted, practically give-away papers. You know, airport and hotel papers that litter your hotel doorway and seating at departure gates. Newspapers that were previously counted as circulation until they got caught at it.

** Translation: Our paper isn't worth the newspaper print it's printed on.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The "C" stands for Creepy

It's one of those rare and wonderful moments in life.
Arlington, VA - A former Arlington little league coach will be sentenced Friday for possessing child pornography that two judges described as the most-disturbing evidence they have ever seen.

Fifty-one-year old Charles Rust-Tierney pleaded guilty in May.

Court documents indicate Rust-Tierney, a former president of the Virginia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, used his 10-year-old son's computer to purchase several subscriptions to child pornography web sites and downloaded other illegal materials.

The videos described in the complaint reportedly depict graphic forcible intercourse with prepubescent females, some as young as four years old.

Arlington police say since Rust-Tierney's arrest, they have not identified any little league players who may have had inappropriate contact with him.

Two judges refused to release the defendant on bond because of the disturbing nature of the charges and the graphic material in evidence.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison and ten years' suspended sentence. The sentence is one year less than the minimum. He will serve the time in a minimum security prison.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Godless and Barbaric

Anything to make money in Russia.

The artist was given access to the morgue to take photographs of eight bodies with various objects including sheet music, a key and an apple. The coronor was accused of abuse of a corpse for letting the artist take the pictures, and he was convicted. However, another court ruled that there was not enough evidence to convict him.

This isn't the first time the morgue has allowed desecration of bodies. They allowed a cornea removal without family approval and body organ removal without notice to families.


Only it isn't Russia. It's Hamilton County, Ohio. The county seat is -- Cincinnati.
Hamilton County settled a lawsuit Tuesday filed by the families of people whose bodies were photographed by an artist at the morgue. The county agreed to pay $8 million to 532 families in the class-action suit filed six years ago, but officials said the interest-free payments would be made over two years.

Every copy of the offending photographs will be transferred to the families’ attorneys and destroyed, officials said.
As for the photographer.
Photographer Thomas Condon was convicted in October 2001 on eight counts of gross abuse of a corpse for taking pictures of bodies with various objects including sheet music, a key and an apple.

Former deputy coroner Jonathan Tobias, who was accused of letting Condon take the photographs, was also found guilty of gross abuse of a corpse. That conviction was thrown out when 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals ruled that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to convict him.

Under the agreement, Hamilton County Coroner O’Dell Owens, first elected to office in 2004, will reopen a morgue viewing room, offer grief counseling and establish a memorial at the morgue in memory of the deceased family members.

“Dr. Owens has acted aggressively to correct the mistakes of previous coroners,” said attorney Stan Chesley, who filed the class action suit. “This settlement provides fair compensation to all of the families affected.”

The morgue settlement will go before federal Judge Arthur Spiegel in about a month for a fairness hearing, which is the final step before payment and closure.

This settlement marks the third time since 2001 that the county have paid damages for misdeeds in the coroner’s office that predate the previous administration. The first two cases cost county taxpayers $5.25 million, once for a cornea removal without family approval, and a $6 million settlement for body organ removal without notice to families.
Source: WLWT.com Link

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Poster Boy

Gov. George Ryan pardoned Aaron Patterson in 2003, saying there was no credible evidence against him. Ryan also pardoned three other men and commuted the sentences of all other death row inmates to life without parole. Today Ryan, sentenced to six and a half years, is likely to go to jail after his appeal is completed , and Paterson is back for 30 years.
A former death row inmate who became a symbol of a badly broken criminal justice system harangued prosecutors and denounced a federal judge Tuesday before being sentenced to 30 years in prison for trading in guns and drugs.

Aaron Patterson, who prosecutors claimed coordinated gang activities even as he served 17 years in prison for a double murder he insists he didn't commit, made a 45-minute expletive-laden statement to the court before his sentence was read."You're going to put me down for a high sentence, but I'll be back. Back with a vengeance," said Patterson, his hands and ankles bound as he spoke from the defense table flanked by three federal marshals.
After his release and pardon, Patterson unsuccessfully ran for State Legislature.

No wonder Ryan was against the death penalty. He had a lot more in common with the criminals inside jail than voters.

Few stories remember why Patterson was on death row in the first place.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Black Murder Victims

There are times when you shake your head at the absurdity of the Associated Press. In a story on the number of black murder victims, the writer, LARA JAKES JORDAN, reports the facts and then, well, goes out on a righteous cause limb.

FACT: Nearly half of the nation's murder victims in 2005 were black, and the number of black men who were slain is on the rise.
(The number of white victims also rose. See Homocide victims per 100,000 by race. Scroll to bottom.)

FACT: A majority of the black murder victims were relatively young -- between 17 and 29.

FACT: Black people represented an estimated 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005, the latest data available, but were the victims of 49 percent of all murders and 15 percent of rapes, assaults and other nonfatal violent crimes nationwide.

FACT: Most of the black murder victims -- 93 percent -- were killed by other black people.

FACT: About 85 percent of white victims were slain by other white people.

FACT: Poorer black people were at a greater risk of violence than households with higher annual incomes. (SEE below - Income.)

She characterizes the above as, "The department's Bureau of Justice Statistics report offers a snapshot of racial disparities among violent crime victims." She could have chosen the word, "difference" but disparity suggests an inequality that needs to be corrected.

It's a money thing.
National Urban League President Marc Morial, a former mayor of New Orleans, said the data reflect a trend that cannot be reversed by law enforcement alone. It will require changes in public education and a revival of federal summer jobs programs for economically disadvantaged young people, he said.

"The mixture of illegal drugs, easy access to handguns, and young men who feel locked out of economic opportunity is what these statistics reflect," Morial said.

Not linked to in the story is the PRESS RELEASE from the Department of Justice on the report, "Black Victims of Violent Crime" (NCJ-214258) and the full report HERE (PDF)

MISSED FACT: About half of homicides against blacks occurred in cities with a population of at least 250,000 people.

MISSED FACT: About 77 percent of black homicide victims were killed with a firearm.

MISSED FACT: Black victims were more likely than victims or any other racial group or Hispanics to face an offender with a weapon.

MISSED FACT: Young males, particularly young black males, are disproportionately involved in homicide compared to their share of the population. (Click on chart to enlarge.)

FACT: Homicide offending patterns are similar to victimization patterns.

Income figures in the report are related to non-fatal crimes like robbery. (See pg 4.)

Fact: Among blacks, males and those in urban areas were the most vulnerable to robbery victimization

Between 2001 and 2005, blacks ages 12 to 19 made up about 37% of all black robbery victims, a percentage similar to that for Hispanics (table 3). Males made up the majority of robbery victims among blacks, whites and Hispanics.

About a third of black robbery victims lived in households with annual incomes of less than $15,000.

Black robbery victims (65%) were more likely than white robbery victims (41%) to live in urban areas.
If I were a reporter, I wouldn't call the National Urban League but a record producer. I wouldn't agonize over disparity but wonder if the rise of Gangsta rap in the 1990s hasn't been one of the greatest factors in the rise of both victims and offenders between 18-24.

Until we do have reporters who actually think of both whites and blacks as victims when they are murdered or robbed, the newspapers will continue to flog a 1960's - "poverty's the problem" - mentality. If money was the answer, then Washington, D.C. schools would be the best in the country. New Jersey schools would be the second best.

The problem is a decline in black culture in urban areas, the breakdown of black families, out of wedlock births, illegal drugs, bad role models, and the indifference of liberals to solving any of those problems. For liberals the answer will always be more money.

Global Scamming

An editorial in the Detroit News, "Put up or shut up on global warming" nails the issue.
Fighting global warming isn't so much fun now, is it? When the battle targeted almost exclusively Detroit's auto industry, volunteers were falling all over themselves to sign up.
But now it's about to hit closer to home for most Americans. U.S. Rep. John Dingell, the Dearborn Democrat who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, is proposing a 50-cent tax on a gallon of gasoline and suspension of mortgage deductions for what he calls McMansions -- homes over 3,000 square feet.

Dingell continues to press the point that if we believe global warming is so serious a threat that it's worth destroying the automobile industry, then it's also worth spreading the pain to as many other places as possible.

His proposal is aimed at the Hollywood hypocrites who testify before Congress about the evils of the auto industry and then fly private jets back to their 30,000-square-foot hillside palaces. If the smug global warming warriors who park their Priuses in four-car garages want to cram everyone else into wheeled shoe boxes, then they should be willing to bed down in cracker boxes.

Heating and cooling giant houses produces as much carbon as driving a sport utility vehicle.
And Dingell is right in reminding consumers that they can't keep crying for Detroit to develop more fuel-efficient cars while demanding cheap gasoline and vehicles large enough to haul a soccer team.

If Americans are serious about combating global warming, then they must be made to understand it will require sacrifice. Smaller cars won't be enough to get the job done. Smaller houses will be part of the equation, too, as will be much larger energy bills.

We aren't so thrilled with the idea of penalizing those who own big homes, or about raising the cost of gasoline, heating fuel and electricity. But neither are we crazy about driving automakers into bankruptcy in the name of fighting a phenomenon we don't yet fully understand or are certain we can control.

But we do like Dingell's idea of putting a clear price tag on the global warming war and making consumers understand they'll be the ones to pay it.

The largest worry is what the politicos intend to do with all that money they will raise in the interest of fighting global warming. The nearly unlimited funding of schools has shown what money can't buy. Trusting the United Nations or France to lead the effort is laughable considering their track record of accountability and concepts of democracy.

If long-term weather trends result in warming, I can't see any politician - who is more likely to own a 3,000+-square foot home than most citizens - giving up their comfort, SUVs, air conditioners or 200,000 miles a year airplane travel to help the planet.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Altering images isn't new as this site proves. Absolute best denial that we did it on purpose and we did it on purpose in the same obfuscating paragraph, was from New York Times Magazine.
"The cover photograph in The Times Magazine on Sunday rendered colors incorrectly for the jacket, shirt and tie worn by Mark Warner, the former Virginia governor who is a possible candidate for the presidency. The jacket was charcoal, not maroon; the shirt was light blue, not pink; the tie was dark blue with stripes, not maroon. The Times's policy rules out alteration of photographs that depict actual news scenes and, even in a contrived illustration, requires acknowledgment in a credit. In this case, the film that was used can cause colors to shift, and the processing altered them further; the change escaped notice because of a misunderstanding by the editors."
The Image Science Group research focuses on digital forensics, image analysis, computer vision, and human perception.

Absolutely fascinating.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And Now, for something completely different

WoW Dancing - My all time favorite. So far, 4,630,831 views.


And I thought Too Sexy was funny.


Jimmy: The World of Warcraft Story
"Hey, Bitch. I don't wanna bind!"


Monday, July 16, 2007

What's the Press Coming to?

The former president of the Dallas Press Club is being sued, accused of rigging several prestigious journalism competitions. Elizabeth Albanese denies the accusations She was president of the Press Club August 2005 until March 2007.

The lawsuit was filed by the press club and the Press Club of Dallas Foundation.
At the center of the case is the question of whether Albanese rigged the Katie Awards, a contest for journalists and communications professionals in Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Albanese won 10 Katie Awards from 2003-06, which is also the period in which she was active in organizing the competition. Earlier this year, press club members learned that Albanese couldn't name any of the judges involved from 2004-06. The club's leaders have concluded that no one judged them.
And then there is those other things to explain.
Albanese has been arrested in Texas and Virginia on charges of passing bad checks and in Maryland for fraud, theft and forgery, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

Press club members say she has claimed to be teenage graduate of the University of Texas, a Harvard Law School graduate and a former New York Times reporter. The Associated Press was unable to verify those claims.
Albanese was once described as "one of the most most honored journalists in North Texas." She even invented a rich husband who declared bankruptcy in 2003.

She had criminal records in three states. Sounds like she found just the right career.

Also see "Kiss Me, Katie"

FINALLY - Nov 30 - The Press Club of Dallas has dropped their lawsuit.
The Press Club decided to drop the lawsuit after concluding that it was a waste of money at a time when the club was trying to rebuild its reputation and fund scholarships.
They still want the awards back though. (As if they mean anything.)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Easy Life

July 6 - The Christian Science Monitor on "Al Gore's inconvenient tax" -
wants to replace the current payroll tax with a consumer tax on fossil-fuel use.

This "carbon tax" would, of course, raise the price of gasoline and home heating/cooling. And it would put the burden of generating the same level of federal revenues on consumers while reducing the tax burden on labor and capital (workers and employers). Unless the poor get a break on this consumption tax, it will hit them harder than wealthier folks.
Of course, it has nothing to do with the sale of Elk Hills Reserves to Occidental Petroleum under the Clinton administration for a bargain basement price tag of $3.65 billion.

Before the sale of Elk Hills, Algore controlled between $250,000-$500,000 of Occidental stock (he is executor of a trust that he says goes only to his mother, but will revert to him upon her death). After the sale, Gore began disclosing between $500,000 and $1 million of his significantly more valuable stock.

The Gore family history with Occidental Petroleum began with Gore, Sr. Two years after Gore Sr. was defeated in a bid for re-election to the Senate, he joined Occidental as a member of its board of directors and was rewarded with a $500,000 a year job working for an Oxy subsidiary.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tiny Ridder Testifies

Par Ridder (former publisher of the Pioneer Press) claims he didn't intend to harm the St. Paul Pioneer Press when he took confidential computer files from his job there to his new post as publisher and CEO of the rival Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

The spreadsheets contained sensitive data on advertising, finances and personnel. He was only, he claimed, going to reproduce the forms. Of course, he shared the spreadsheets with at least two other Star Tribune officials but only so they could re-create the spreadsheets using Star Tribune data, adapted to how the Star Tribune conducted business. If you believe that.

From the Washington Post:
"I had profit numbers, revenue numbers, expense numbers" and sensitive information on advertisers and personnel, he said.
He also took a folder of noncompete agreements, including his own agreement.

Par Ridder is the son of Knight Ridder Chairman Tony Ridder who sold the Pioneer Press to McClatchy newspapers who sold it to MediaNews.

There were other witnesses.
Two of Ridder's new bosses also testified by video. OhSang Kwon, a partner with Avista Capital Partners, which owns the Star Tribune, said Ridder had told him when they were hiring him that his noncompete agreement had been repealed, and he wasn't sure if it was valid in the first place. James Finkelstein, another partner at Avista, said Ridder should not have brought the confidential computer documents with him to the Star Tribune.
Par Ridder, 38, testifed that Art Brisbane released them from the noncompete agreements, but Brisbane said he couldn't recall discussing the matter. Furthermore, Brisbane testified he was sure that he would have consulted with other Knight Ridder executives before canceling Ridder's noncompete agreement, including Tony Ridder.

The Houston Chronicle: ""I didn't plan on using the Pioneer Press financials," Ridder testified, because it would have given him and the Star Tribune an "unfair advantage" in the competitive Twin Cities newspaper market."

The Star Tribune is, of course, denying that tiny Ridder and two executives violated employment agreements by coming to work at the paper. The Pioneer Press wants the three executives - Paul Ridder, Kevin Desmond, the Star Tribune's senior vice president of operations, and Jennifer Parratt, its director of niche publications, banned from working for the Star Tribune for at least a year.

THIS IS probably not important unless you follow the media business, but Tiny Ridder was always a major loser who oversaw an intentially non-competing newspaper. The fact is that he wanted to continue to cripple any possible competition.
FOR UPDATE on how this turned out, go here. (Short version: The Star Tribune paid $3.4 million legal fees to the Pioneer Press. The union voted to ask Tiny Ridder to quit. A judge finally ordered him to leave the paper for a year and the judge had some juicy comments to make about it.)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Nothing illustrates the deficiencies of socialized state health care more than Adolfo (Tony) Flora. He was infected with hepatits from tainted blood in 1973. He was diagnosed with with liver cancer in 1999. He was told there were no viable treatment options and was given six months to live.

But he didn't die.
Flora refused to accept the death sentence and travelled to England for a transplant that saved his life. Now 57, he is free of hepatitis and cancer although his health must still be monitored.

However, the treatment in Britain cost more than $400,000 and OHIP has refused to compensate him, Kahnert said.

Flora sued the province but in January lost his case before the Ontario Divisional Court.
He is now appealing the ruling, leaving him with significant court costs, Kahnert said.
Supporters are planning a concert to try to raise funds for him.

Sounds like the Soviet Union, doesn't it? It's Canada.

CBC on the tainted blood scandal. Here In several provinces you can check out the waiting times online, in case you want to gamble on, say, that cancer or that heart condition going away on its own without surgery.

I just know I want to trust my life with a Ministry of Health.

A Man of the Cloth Press Conference

In a first, Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney, was ordered by a judge to testify in a "in a lawsuit alleging that he failed to protect parishioners from a pedophile teacher."

In a city where radio ads are heard daily criticizing the Catholic Church, and Mahoney in particular, in "How DARE you!"ads condemning the church for opposition to Right to Die, it wasn't unexpected.

It's very easy to criticize Mahoney. He takes sides on every issue, usually on the wrong side, and is one of the most political devisive religious figures in the country. He demeans religion with his self-righteous involvement in "social justice issues" and his arrogance is unbecoming for a religious figure. Frankly, he deserves the disrespect. The fact that he's extending that contempt to the whole church is the problem.

The Los Angeles Times continues to call priests accused of sexual involvement with underage youths "pedophiles" despite the fact that all the sex contacts were homosexual. However, calling them "homosexual priests" just isn't on the Los Angeles Times' agenda.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bragging Rights

Unemployment figures in the EU, as reported by Expatica.com

The EU average fell by 0.1 percent in April to a new low of 7.1 percent. That represents about 17 million people in the EU.

Poland continues to have the highest unemployment rate (11.2 percent), although the number of unemployed Poles has nearly been halved since the country's accession to the EU. (Which may in fact be the result of EU accounting practices, because the figures here contradict that.)

Slovakia has the second highest unemployment rate (10.5 percent), followed by France and Greece (both 8.6 percent).

They didn't mention the German unemployment rate: German unemployment dropped to 9.1 per cent in May. Down from 9.8 in March and 9.5 in April.

If Germany spent more time creating jobs in innovation and technology and less time investing in global warming scams, they wouldn't rival Slovakia in unemployment.

The EU Parliament voting is another bragging right.

Global Scamming

The Guardian (U.K) thinks emission credits and carbon trading are bogus.
The CDM is one of two global markets which have been set up in the wake of the Kyoto climate summit in 1997. Both finally started work in January 2005. Although both were launched with the claim that they would reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, evidence collected by the Guardian suggests that thus far, both markets have earned fortunes for speculators and for some of the companies which produce most greenhouse gases and yet, through a combination of teething troubles and multiple forms of malpractice and possibly fraud, they have delivered little or no benefit for the environment.
The CDM is run under the umbrella of the UN.

The EU scheme is equally profit generating, while "At the other end of this EU market, smaller organisations like UK hospitals and 18 universities, who had been given far fewer EUAs, were forced to go out and buy them - while the price was still high. So, for example, the University of Manchester spent £92,500 on EUAs. Now that the truth about the glut has been revealed, the university would be doing well if it managed to get £1,000 for the lot of them. " [EUAs =
EUA EU Allowance (C02-emissions)]

Scam? Of course. The Guardian: "While this EU market has failed to make any serious impact on climate change, the UN's Clean Development Mechanism has done little better."

It wouldn't be difficult to imagine that regulating C02-emissions is a prelude to eventually charging people for the air they breathe, That scenario is looking more likely every day.

It's time for a reality check.

One Democrat Candidate Down

Margaret Carlson on Bill Richardson's appearance on Meet the Press was a barbacue.
On the Supreme Court, one debate ago, Richardson said his favorite Justice was Byron White. That was before it was pointed out to him that White wrote the dissenting opinion in Roe v. Wade. Since then, his new faves are Justices Earl Warren and Ruth Ginsburg.

Richardson stubbornly refused to end a fight with the mother of a fallen Marine. Russert produced an Associated Press story disputing an anecdote Richardson tells on the campaign trail. It's about a conversation he had with Lance Corporal Aaron Austin's mother, who thanks the governor for getting federal death benefits for survivors increased, brandishing the check she got.

Not only has Richardson fumbled the name and age of Austin in the retelling, the mother says there was no such exchange.

``I don't know a person rich or poor that would be told that her only living child has been killed, and you're going to strike up a money conversation?'' she said. ``Bill Richardson needs to stop pushing this lie. Aaron's name had better not be used again in any way. Not mine either. A full written apology is due me.''

An oral apology on Meet the Press would have gone a long way. Instead, Richardson insisted in three long, rambling answers that ``we have different recollections.''
And then there were the baseball lies.

Richardson's politics, however, might be explained best by this short news item at the Sante Fe New Mexican
N.M. food stamp rolls bursting — While the state celebrated the 30th anniversary of the modern-day food stamp program last week, it also marked the success of Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration in getting nearly 18,000 more people enrolled in this federal program for the poor. In 2003, 73,450 New Mexico families were on rolls. Today, the food stamp program helps 90,980 families buy groceries.
Is that bragging or complaining? Hard to tell as the rest of the article is behind a registration wall. But when even Bill Clinton was forced by public opinion to sign welfare reform, it doesn't seem like a winning strategy.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Party Hearty

If you want to know the real New Orleans, don't visit during Mardi Gras. Just read The Times Picayne daily and weep at the murder rate and the unsolved murder statistics. They're appalling.

FINDING: Prosecutors have successfully prosecuted just one of the 162 homicides committed last year, convicting a man of killing his lover. A second trial, also a more easily prosecuted domestic killing, ended in an acquittal.

FINDING: More than 80 percent of the 162 murder victims last year were black men.

FINDING: More than half of all victims were black men younger than 30, and 29 percent were teenagers. Only 10 white men, 4 Hispanics and 3 Asian men were victims. Women were 9 percent of the murder victims. Nine black women, three white women.

FINDING: All but five of the 58 suspects police arrested were black men.

FINDING: Overall, police have "cleared" 43 percent of last year's murders. Meaning someone was arrested. But that doesn't mean a trial and conviction. The DA's office only accepted 55% of the 42 cases brought from last year.

FINDING: Of the 162 homicides last year, 105 occurred on the street, on a front porch, in a car or otherwise in public view. Forty-eight of those homicides happened in broad daylight. Witnesses won't step forward.

Read the whole thing. And you wonder why Ray Nagin is elected again and again? It's a culture of corruption, connivance and decay. The best thing we could do is sell it back to the French, but I doubt even they would take it.

An online newspaper worth looking at

If you want to see an example of newspaper coverage that would be worth paying money to read online, the Appleton Post-Crescent (Wisconsin) has it in their coverage of the trial of Steven Avery.

Take the story of a man released after being exonerated by DNA for a previous crime who was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Steven Avery was convicted of killing a freelance photographer in 2005, two years after he was released.

Scroll down on the right for links. I hate to say it, but the Gannett paper is excellent.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


When Air-France-KLM orders more planes from Boeing than they do EAD-produced Airbus planes, you know that Airbus is in trouble.

Despite what the Wichita Eagle says, Air-France-KLM isn't buying 30 Airbus A320 planes. They're buying 12 and leasing 18.

In all, European socialism isn't doing well, as I have reported before.

The Joys of Socialism Pt 2713

The money quote is the last paragraph.
Five formerly communist states of eastern Germany where deserted factories and blocks of flats already blot the landscape are set to lose another third of their population by 2050, German statisticians said Tuesday.

The figures are based on current birth and death statistics in a region where the economy imploded after the end of communism in 1989. Major industries closed down, young people left for the west and often only old people were left in smaller villages.

The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said the population was set to decline 31 per cent in Brandenburg, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg West Pomerania and Thuringia. By 2050 there would be 80 retirees for every 100 residents aged 20-65.

The more prosperous German west is also set to suffer a decline in population if Germany does not appeal for immigrants: a 10-per-cent fall in the three city-states and a 14-per-cent fall in the remaining eight western states.
Source: DPA via Expatica

Rather than deal with unemployment and falling birth rates, Germany, like many EU countries, relies upon importing labor in the form of immigration. It's a two-fold benefit for the socialist state. The imported labor is cheaper, less likely to be unionized, and the influx helps dilute the nation state identity. Sovereignty isn't a socialist value; their loyalty is to the socialist system that rewards corruption first, mediocrity second, and political patronage. Why worry about unemployment? All their friends are employed. By the government.

On the other hand, busy German politicians passed a bill that raises the legal age limit for buying tobacco from 16 years to 18. The age of consent for sex in Germany is 14-16. I guess post-coital smoking is out for teens.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Airbus Bust

It's official. The Airbus venture is a mess. That doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the saga. Airbus chief executive Louis Gallois says national pride has been the downfall of the European aircraft manufacturer in which France and Germany are the biggest partners in an interview in the New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune.

Airbus airliners are assembled in France with parts made also in Germany, Britain and Spain. Gallois said the technical problems with the A380 had revealed the extent of the problems in building aircraft in a number of different sites in different countries, with engineers attempting to correct problems working in different ways. Well, duh.

When rear fuselage sections of A380s built in the German city of Hamburg began arriving at the main Airbus site in Toulouse, France, in 2004 they lacked the correct wiring for the aircraft's in-flight entertainment system.

It was discovered that the computer modelling softwares used by the company's German and French sites were incompatible.

Those are not national pride issues but political interference in the project with both Germany and France vying for portions of the contract. The Airbus was supposed to cure the problem of high unemployment in Europe but jobs and job security became paramount concerns, with engineering and production a distant priority. Couple all that with the usual socialist corruption, graft, union-management collusion that rivaled even Chrysler and Ford deals, and you have an idea of why the Airbus is lucky that the wings fit on the plane.

Reportedly Gallois said the changes would involve transferring some jobs to different locations in Europe. That's something unions in France and Germany won't handle well, if at all. The "restructuring" frequently referred to is the loss of some 10,000 jobs.

In the tradition of throwing good money after lost money, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to inject new cash into EADS, the parent of struggling European plane-maker Airbus, if new shares are issued. He also said France would sell their stake in EADS. Eventually.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The the head of the state's Republican party likened to "Doctor Kevorkian teaching health maintenance." when he heard that ex-N.J. Governor Jim McGreevey has started teaching courses at a New Jersey university on ethics and leadership. McGreevey has become an Episcopalian and enrolled in a "discernment" program to help prospective candidates for the priesthood decide if it is their true calling.

The State Senate President and fellow Democrat was equally dismissive. "You need to get out of the newspaper, simple as that," he said. "For his kid's sake, his former wife's sake. Enough's enough. Let him get on with his life, let him find happiness, but outside of the press area."

McGreevey was officially received into the Episcopal religion on Sunday. McGreevey also has been accepted to study this fall at the General Theological Seminary in New York, the oldest of the Episcopal church.

Meanwhile, remember how his wife stood behind him? No more. The divorce is truly ugly. She is hitting the talk show circuit with her new book. A judge scolded both of them. When his wife heard about his seminary plans, she called it "the most absurd thing I've ever heard.

McGreevey is likely to raise the goalposts in the future. He's a man who tramples to death old women to race to a camera and a live microphone. Jesse Jackson wouldn't stand in his path. McGreevey's shameless, which is why he probably fits in well in New Jersey politics. It's a landfill full of corrupt politicians, rigged elections, dishonesty and organized crime.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cleaning Their Hands Pt II

As Part II of cleaning up their act, Rosie O'Donnell is now overboard. Not immediately, but certainly before the elections. The payoff? A show of her own in 2009. Or other options. as the Associated Press noted.
Options discussed include another syndicated, celeb-focused show; a game show; a late-night network program; or a cable show, where her colorful language could be less inhibited.
Amidst boycott threats against Disney and ABC for comments she made about Sept. 11, O'Donnell was said to be weighing offers from bidders, including CBS television Television Distribution, to do another show of her own.

In other words, she's being rewarded for - going away.

What's amazing is that the MSM thinks that out of sight is out of mind. O'Donnell is still a loose cannon and Imus will likely get a satellite radio program. Neither is likely to go away anytime soon as they both represent the cultural elite attitude. The only problem is that the cultural elites want a much lower profile.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cleaning their hands

I've been waiting for Don Imus to be fired to comment on the manufactured outrage of the MSM. Manufactured because they've adored him for years. More so than the public. In 2005, David Kiley of Business Week wrote about Imus' rating.
Book sellers, Senators, Congressmen, media personalities and even clergy are always after the same audience as Imus’s advertisers: affluent, educated and influential men, many of whom not only buy books, but count as swing voters.

Imus’s show, while politically charged, skews neither right nor left, which makes it a refreshing switch from the wing-nut harangue of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or the Air America Crew. “I don’t know anyone in Washington who doesn’t listen to Imus or watch him on TV,” says CBS News and Face The Nation anchor Bob Schieffer, a frequent guest, who politely admitted to me the show has become a more valued outlet for many DC elite than either of his programs.
The show was big bucks.
Imus’s influence is transcending the size of his audience. Imus In The Morning, reaches about 3.25 million radio listeners a week, according to industry trade journal Talkers Magazine (plus another 335,000 an hour on TV).

His radio audience is about a quarter of Limbaugh's weekly following and less than half of Stern's. But blue-chip and family-oriented advertisers like Chrysler, Bigelow Tea and The New York Stock Exchange are prepared to pay top dollar to flog their brands on Imus; his show commands advertising rates of $1,333-$1,500 per thousand listeners versus about $1,000 for Limbaugh and Stern, according to industry sources.
What you note about the article is that Rush Limbaugh is a wing-nut but Air America is a crew and the audience size is miniscule compared to Limbaugh's.

These are your cultural elites. The people who never criticize the filth of rap lyrics, or complain about the depiction of black women as "hos." These are your white collar bigots who knew Imus' rants were often dispicable and they liked to kid themselves that it was just wry humor. Just as the lyrics of rap records are authentic urban music. Well they are if you think black women are whores.

Nothing about Imus was particularly funny except to these elites. He was raunchy and rude and outright mean. His talk show was rated 20th nationally, according to Brent Baker of NewsBusters. Talkers Magazine shows him tied with Kim Komando, a computer show host. But she doesn't make an estimated $31 million a year.

Imus was a media celebrity who said what the guests wanted to say and snicker at.

So why all the outrage? It would be cynical to suggest that it's the 2008 elections and posturing for the black vote, but that's likely the reason. The Democrats and their friends in the media are starting to shed their traditional allies as they seek to redefine themselves and regain the black vote. Hence, the stories about racism in South Carolina as a white female teacher had sex with four or five black boys. Nevermind that teachers of both sexes are having sex all across the U.S. with school children.

The media and the Democrat party are cleaning their hands. The offhand 3:00 am comment by Imus was convenient excuse to close the door and cut a losing show at the same time. It helped that he had hit the rating skid before the recent ill-considered, off-the-cuff remark. If Imus referred to the women as "hos' it's because the media, his audience, and black rappers have called black women 'hos" for decades with no outcry.

His biggest sponsors, Procter & Gamble Co. General Motors. Sprint. Staples. American Express, have overlooked his crassness. That's because they have media buyers buy the time for them and care little what happens on the show.

It's like being anti-pornography when you're caught coming out of an XXX rated theatre. You can look like an avenging angel at the same time if you posture as a reformer. But you still stink of raunchy sex.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Nancy Pelosi - Poliskirt

Thought: We don't have a federal government anymore; we have a Republican government or a Democrat one.

Increasingly, however, the Democrats who spend more time out of the White House than in, think it doesn't matter what the electorate says. Who voted for Nancy Pelosi to conduct our foreign policy?

It sounds like a dumb move, and having watched Pelosi for years and coming from a state that elected the woman, it is dumb. But also marginal politics. Pelosi is as American as San Francisco. At a guess, Nancy was trying to assure foreign leaders that they can feel free to contribute to Democrats for the 2008 election. Democrats can be counted upon to conduct a foreign policy much different than the current White House.

It's an excellent tactic to encourage campaign donations, but it also undermines our government's authority. Don't want to negotiate? Wait a year or so and maybe you won't have to release prisoners, refrain from conducting nuclear tests, reform your own government because of international pressure, cooperate in a UN investigation into the assassination of a Lebanese politician. If you just contribute enough, all your worries will disappear.

As the most public face of the Democrat party, Pelosi is a poliskirt. From my own Lexicon of Politics:

What, I wondered, do you call a political party who hides behind women elected for the reason that other men are generally too polite to treat them as badly as they deserve? Democraducks. (In the case of Canada, they are Libducks.)

The women they hide behind are Poliskirts, a reference not to their attire but the skirts the Democraducks hide behind.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Culture War Continues

"It's intended as a meditation on the Holy Week," is how the artistic director at the Roger Smith Lab Gallery in Midtown Manhattan described the artwork they intended to display in a street-level window. Days ahead of Good Friday. It is a 6-foot tall, naked Jesus sculpted in chocolate.

How devout do you have to be to loving sculpt the genitals of Jesus in chocolate? How stupid do you have to be to consider exhibiting something like that? At any time, let alone from Good Friday until Easter Sunday? How stupid to even considering anything at the artist's site worthy? Or anything at the Roger Smith Hotel gallery.

They were just that stupid and dumb enough to miscalculate the reaction. The Roger Smith Hotel canceled the "tribute" after a public outcry. The Smith Hotel president issued a statement. Matt Semler, creative director of the Lab Gallery, resigned in protest. He spoke to the New York Daily News: "I've got a lot of people saying it was beautiful," he said. "A lot of people said the image of Christ was put back to something holy with this piece."

From UPI: "It's an all-out war on Christianity," said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. "They wouldn't show a depiction of Martin Luther King, Jr. with genitals exposed on Martin Luther King Day, and they wouldn't show Muhammed depicted this way during Ramadan. It's always Christians, and the timing is deliberate."

I suspect they would show a naked Martin Luther King, Jr. or Muhammed. Because the celebrity that comes from anti-Americanism, anti-Christianity and anti-establishment is something the modern artist craves. Not recognition of their art. They haven't got any talent. The next best thing is celebrity. Which is why Hollywood stars are the first to voice opinions.

Roger Smith Hotel website

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Semi-annual French News Roundup

It is semi-annual because that's all I can tolerate.

Headline: "Mitterrand's son may face trial in arms to Angola affair" is more hope than possibility. The son was detained for three weeks in December 2000 and January 2001 as an accessory to arms trafficking, but the charge has been dropped. Judiciary wants to try Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, who was an adviser on African affairs at the Elysee presidential palace from 1986 to 1992, along with 42 others suspected of -- GASP -- taking bribes from businessman Pierre Falcone, who organised $500 million arms deliveries from eastern Europe to Angola to help fund another African war. Dubbed "Angolagate" by the press.

Falcone is married to -or divorced from, depending on the story - a former Miss Bolivia. She was charged in 2006 with immigration fraud and perjury and accused of hiring illegal immigrants to work as servants in her $10.5 million Paradise Valley mansion - in Arizona. Her bio at her website says she was "raised in Argentina in a family of seven children. Sonia Falcone developed an early love for animals, the environment, and the people around her." (Which makes you wonder why people ranked last in all that early love.)

In any case, as reported Mar 22nd, the Feds are kicking her out of the U.S. She has until August 15 to leave the country. "We believe it serves the interests of the United States that Ms. Falcone has agreed to remove herself from the country and terminate her citizenship," said Wyn Hornbuckle, spokesman for interim U.S. Attorney Daniel Knauss. (Knauss was appointed in Feb 2007, dodging recommendations of Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl.)

Just in passing - Daniel Knauss is the interim replacement for Paul Charlton who was one of eight U.S. Attorneys who were abruptly replaced. Whether it was for reasons claimed by the Senate oversight committee or they were fired for non-performance or non-compliance with Administrative wishes, isn't clear yet. Clinton fired every U.S. Attorney - all 93 - when he took office, an act unprecedented.

One of the complaints appears to be that the fired U.S. Attorneys were not taking voter fraud seriously. Sonia Falcone's web site is a latino voter activism site. Her philanthropy, it seems, was limited to registering latino voters.

Headline: "Mitterrand's daughter slams 'mad dog' Sarkozy" is 33-year-old writer whose relationship to her father was kept secret until she was in her late teens who plans to vote socialist. Pingeot's mother, Anne, was Mitterrand's mistress. (The French love scandal even more than America-bashing. It's better for the ego and self-absorption disguises a lot of faults.)
Not even headline material: The usual street protests against work conditions and bad pay. This time in Marseilles and they are policemen. Protest coincided (if you believe in coincidence) with Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to the southern city of Marseilles. Full denials that no one believes.
A Saudi prince will be tried in absentia for using diplomatic immunity to smuggle two tons of cocaine into France in his private jet. Neither he or the three Columbian drug-traffickers will be in court. The three Columbians are in U.S. custody since their conviction in 2005.

Prince Nayef is a grandson of Saudi Arabia's founding monarch Abdulaziz. Prince Nayef's lawyer Jacques Verges is expected to argue that his client is the victim of a conspiracy hatched in the US. Times (London) has more. As does The Scotsman.

No one has claimed it was for his personal household use. In fact, a former official at the French interior ministry claims that Nayef turned to coke-smuggling to provide secret funding for Wahabi Muslim fundamentalist militants.

Spare Us

Michael Massing, a contributing edtor to the Columbia Journalism Review, ponders "Missing Middle." (For the uninformed, that's the middle of the country most often referred to as "fly over" America.)

What he finds missing are the stories that originate from middle America. He wonders if major media was located in the Midwest, would there be more stories about religion? Or the unemployment in the automotive industry. Would reporters who lived there have knowledge of how Ohio came to be a swing state in Presidential elections? All very interesting, but what he unintentionally admits is why those stories wouldn't be there anyway.

Most editors and newpapers are, in his words, fixated on Ivy League school. Not just for "how to get into them" but because that's where they find the journalists they hire. "Even an in-state paper like the Toledo Blade, I was told, often seemed to prefer Ivy League grads."

Of course they do. The Ivy League schools regularly produce the same kind of prats that can be found in most newsrooms.

prat - n. English term, primarily used in United Kingdom. The literal meaning is "bottom" or "rump"; aka backside, buttocks, sacrum, tail end. This lends itself to the slang meaning of "ass," or "clueless person of arrogant stupidity." It is not always directly translatable to American slang. For example, if you used the term "prat hat" in the U.K., you would likely be laughed out of town by the locals.

I can't believe what an overbearing idiot he is. What a prat!

Sending reporters to Iowa for a full year before an election to find out how they're thinking sounds a tad like an anthropological expedition to observe native culture in some distant land. I have visions of a reporter copiously taking notes while trying to fathom the language and unsophistication of locals with their own bizarre belief systems.

It's a belief system visiting journalists are unfamiliar with. One that includes God and religion, family values, a love of country, corn-fed philosophy and down-home friendliness, backyard barbeques and middle class decency. Worse, the natives have an indifference to journalists and newspapers and manufactured social issues.

A journalist wouldn't survive a week there. Not without extra pay one deserves for trekking through thoroughly despised territory, and a promotion. So they don't have to go back again.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Absurd theatre from theLeft

From the Bill Roggio's "We no longer question their patriotism" file.

Portland, Oregon protesters.

Poster at the website: 'I grew up in Portland and just recently moved to the Seattle area. Portland is a great town...the anarchists are probably from Eugene (University of Oregon), the same group of losers as those that rioted at the WTO meeting in Seattle in the 90s. "
I kept expecting someone in the crowd to step forward and stop the hooded thugs, but then the crowd wasn't attending a peace rally but a theatre of protest. I was never that bored in my life.

Friday, March 16, 2007


I don't read the Washington Post anymore. It's surreal and gives me a fuzzy head that comes from a conviction that reality is distant and elusive. For some. Mostly, the people at the Washington Post.

First, there's the story of one the top contributors to Hillary Clinton , the firm of International Profits Associates, (ranked 12th) that is facing new allegations of racketeering from former clients. The firm has given her $100,000 in her career. They apparently liked Bill better because paid him $125,000 in speaking fees. The story doesn't even warrant a page of it's own, it's sharing the page with a story about a Republican contributor who isn't suspected of racketeering, but the implication is that he's just as bad because he does support Republicans. And -- evil alert -- he gave money to the Swift Boat Veterans. GASP

However, Hillary's story is below the scroll. And it's apparently not new, even if you are hearing about it for the first time..
Issues facing the firm and its owner have been well documented. Last year, the New York Times reported that IPA's founder had been disbarred in New York and had a record for attempted larceny and patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission opened one of its largest sexual harassment cases against the firm; and the Illinois attorney general has examined the firm's marketing tactics. At that time, Clinton's office said she was considering whether to return the money. She's still considering it.
The story, you just know, will die on that page. Never to be referred to again.

And to add to the bizareness, there's a link to a story headlined, "Nagin Suspects a Plot To Keep Blacks Away" that will die equally quickly. [The slow recovery and rebuilding is a sinister plot to to change the racial makeup and political leadership of his and other cities. And this explains why blacks haven't returned to New Orleans.]

Most of us suspect that the population figures of New Orleans - like many crime-ravaged cities with predominate black populations - have been faked for years. It's a time-honored tradition in St. Louis, and started out as a way to disguise the flight from urban decay and ending up a political necessity. We suspect that, but we are absolutely convinced that Nagin is ceritifably nuts. Which, really, makes reading the Washington Post painful. They seem convinced he is normal.

You can't make this up

Is this a romance made in hell or what? The governor of New Jersey broke up with his girlfriend and forgave a half-million-dollar mortgage loan he had given her. He also may have paid her kids' tuition and helped her with other expenses.

He's Gov. Jon S. Corzine and Carla is Carla Katz, president of New Jersey's biggest state employee union -- Communications Workers of America local.

The arrangments were an issue in 2005. But the conflict-of-interest questions became stronger recently when it was learned that three months ago Katz bought a luxury condominium for $1.1 million in the same waterfront Hoboken building where Corzine lives.

At the same time, she was completing more than $500,000 in renovations to the country home he helped her buy. All that on her $104,000 salary?

New Jersey newspapers don't ask near enough questions. But compared to the last governor, Corzine might be less complicated. And the whole story sounds like a whisper in the ear from some disaffected unions who aren't getting along nearly so intimately with the governor.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Identity Politics Pt II

You can put this down as another definition of chutzpah, once defined by a physicist I knew as "killing your mother and father and throwing yourself on the mercy of the court because you're an orphan."

That ceased to be funny when the Menendez brothers nearly got away with murder. And there's nothing funny about Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center.
A medical school that trains minority students plans to sue Los Angeles County, saying the government betrayed the school and its patients when it downsized a troubled inner-city hospital.
Los Angeles County -- finally and at long last -- voted to turn over control of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center to another hospital after reports of mismanagement and sloppy care. [Read; multiple deaths and sub-human care.]

Now Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is planning to sue for breach of contract. The suit alleges the downsizing of King/Drew — now renamed Harbor-MLK Community Hospital — forced the medical school to withdraw the accreditation for its residency programs, leading to the elimination of 15 training programs.

And a good thing too. Not even the notoriously uninvolved [when it comes to non-political racial baiting events] Los Angeles Times could contain their disgust at the Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center.

See Medical Tragedies - identity politics in medicine, posted February 2006 on this blog

I will confidently predict, however, that Los Angeles County government will turn over millions to buy off the lawsuit because it is, after all, just taxpayer money. There's more where that came from and a lot more silence to be had from the Los Angeles Times.

Monday, February 26, 2007

At last, good news

There's hope for our culture. In a survey of readers, the Star-Telegram reported that nore than 10,000 surveys arrived in response to the invitation to help decide if the comics lineup needs improvement. Online readers returned 6,307 surveys and an estimated 4,000 others were mailed.
The results for the "Bottom 10, combining "Drop It" and "Don't Care" and comparing with their totals from "A Favorite" plus "Keep It":

1. Doonesbury (62 percent thumbs down vs. 33 percent thumbs up).

If that's not encouraging enough, Broadcasting & Cable reports that 18,000 media employees lost their jobs in 2006.

Cheap Political Theatre

Virginia apologized for slavery. It was a political performance worthy of what we expect from the French Party, formerly known as the Democrat Party.

Just as the Academy Awards focus more on the international nature of films, echoing the Cannes film festival as a Green Message Machine and endorsement of innane acting and self-congratulatory ego fest for films no one cares about, the French Party is enamored of their role of echoing French anti-American sentiments. Hence the apology for slavery.

The U.S. has already apologized for slavery with more than just meaningless and devisive grandstanding. There was rarely an American family who did not have a family member fighting on either side of the Civil War.

Read the casualty rates at the 10 costliest battles of the Civil War. Those aren't apologies? Look at the regimental losses, the human suffering, the debilitating injuries, the maiming and amputations, the disfigurements. Hardly an American family was spared. Those aren't affirmations of the need to abolish slavery and atone? 412,175 dead aren't apologies enough?

Obviously not to the French Party. Of course, the French never apologized for Vichy France, the Nazi collaborationists, but the French Party, like the French, are indifferent to reality, or decency, or honesty. Intellectual Elitism is a unique European disease that has led to two World Wars. And it has infected the French Party who are determined to facilitate a third one.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Feb 20, 2007 - When a French judge was interviewed by Radio Netherlands he was candid. Eric Halphen, vice president at the Paris municipal court, says that most French politicians are corrupt and there is not much anyone can do about it.
We meet judge Eric Halphen in a Paris café. He says corruption is everywhere in French politics. High and low, on the left and on the right. But convictions are the exception. A thief who steals a purse on the metro will be convicted to 18 months in prison, a politician who embezzles millions to a two-week suspended sentence. France has a real problem.

The judge knows what he is talking about. From 1991 to 2001 he was investigating the flow of illegal funds in the RPR, the predecessor of the current ruling party UMP. The alleged crimes were committed during President Jaques Chirac's term as RPR chairman and Mayor of Paris, the scene of the crime. Things went wrong when Mr Halphen wanted to call Mr Chirac as a witness in 2001: France's highest court ruled that a head of state can neither testify nor be prosecuted. The judge was removed from the case, resigned from the magistrature and became an author. However, last month he returned as vice president of the Paris municipal court.
Just in time for a vote to establish Presidential immunity while in office in the constitution.

The judge believes that barriers "are being created to protect the president from prosecution. Someone who committed a crime prior to being elected president will enjoy immunity for his entire term in office. A ruling president who runs over a child in the street cannot be prosecuted. The amendment is also being presented as a judicial reform, but that is not true either. No judges will be involved, in future politicians will decide whether a president must resign.

The judge believes presidential immunity is a symptom of France's corrupt political culture. "

What a surprise. And this, folks, is the model for the Democrat party.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ole Joe Biden will be a keynote speaker for trial lawyers meeting somewhere. Not that he's ever, ever going to be president, but he is on the Judiciary Committee. No, they still love Edwards.
Edwards was a principal beneficiary of the group’s giving in the 2004 campaign. Lawyers’ contributions accounted for almost two-thirds of the money he raised during the first quarter of 2003, when he surprised pundits and rivals by out-raising the rest of the field. By the end of the campaign, more than $10 million had flowed to Edwards from lawyers, many of whom were plaintiffs’ attorneys
Whot a surprise.

Of course, no matter what Joe does, the Delaware media seems to like him. They're counting on his -- don't laugh outloud -- charisma.

Rewarding the Infamous

The Dixie Chicks won 5 Grammies, an example of a politicized entertainment industry rewarding the group's political loudness. The infotainment business is also rewarding another political hack - Former Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran has a radio talk show, as SouthofBoston.com notes, just five weeks after pleaded guilty to federal charges. (The crime was perjury.)

They go on to note other public figures on the radio.
Former congressman and Massachusetts Port Authority head Peter Blute did a stint on WRKO after being photographed on an infamous "booze cruise" paid for with public money.

In Rhode Island, former Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci went on the air after he was forced out of office in 1984 for pleading no contest to assaulting a man he thought was his estranged wife's lover. Cianci won his old job back in 1990, then was convicted in 2002 as part of in a federal corruption investigation.
Cianci was colorful and corrupt. Only briefly a radio talk show host. Since he's currently still in the slammer, he was rewarded with a musical. Corruption is rampant in Rhode Island.
Allegations of impropriety are as common as full-moon tides in the Ocean State, and sadly, those allegations have been proven true with alarming regularity. Over the past fifteen years one governor has gone to jail; the mayor of another of the state’s largest cities has served prison time; and two state supreme court justices have resigned amid charges of unethical behavior.
In comparison, Blute looks like a choir boy.

Maybe the infotainment industry can get the Dixie Chicks elected. It would have to be in Rhode Island, though. The voters there don't seem to be too particular.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Good Riddance to more Union Rubbish

Three more snotty reporters have been fired by the Santa Barbara News-Press. They thought they were immune after an overpass demonstration.

Predictably, a Teamster spokesman calls it "a blatant bare knuckled attack" and confirming that an unfair labor practice charge is being filed today with the National Labor Relations Board. yada yada yada

The comments at the story are insightful. Of course, there is the predictable, it's "terror tactics." Many urge a boycott of advertisers.
Everyone knows it's not subscribers that support a paper. Their fees barely pay for the delivery. It's the advertisers. Any advertisers who support this kind of behavior should be boycotted.
Which is why readers can complain all they want about a newspaper and it does them absolutely no good.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Newspaper Industry News - New York Times

The Schulzberger family is pulling $100 million out of Morgan Stanley after a London- based managing director of Morgan Stanley Investment Management who has been trying to incite a shareholder revolt against Sulzberger. As a result, the New York Times family finances are now public.

"Morgan Stanley had been the longtime custodian of the family's assets, including its stake in the Times company - which, based on recent share prices, is worth close to $640 million.)" Hassan Elmasry, the Morgan Stanley director, is in charge of Morgan Stanley's American and Global Franchise Strategies Portfolio, an $11.5 billion investment fund that owns about 7.6 percent of the Times' nonvoting shares. He wants the family to company eliminate its dual shareholder structure, which he believes fails to provide adequate oversight of management.

He has a point. The stock is now down to $24, down 40 percent from two years ago. In addition, the New York Times has made some spectacular mistakes. (They bought the Boston Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993. They bought the Telegram & Gazette for $296.3 million in 2000.)
Recently Robinson announced an $814 million writedown on the Boston Globe and another New England paper - an accounting charge that highlighted a past financial misstep.
CNN Money goes on to note that "Elmasry's cause will be strengthened if he succeeds in lining up Bruce Sherman, the head of Boca Raton-based Private Capital Management. He is the largest owner of Times stock outside the family, with an 18.5 percent stake. Sherman also, of course, was the activist shareholder who forced the sale of newspaper chain Knight Ridder to McClatchy (Charts). He has had discussions with Elmasry but has not yet decided if he wants to jump into the fray.

Bloomberg News reports that the families (Sulzberger and Ochs) control the New York Times through Class B shares, which have a 1 percent economic interest in the company yet carry the right to elect nine of 13 board members. The Class A shares, owned by others including Morgan Stanley, elect the other four directors.

It's good to know that the New York Times is vulnerable.