Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Blogging difficult

Hope to get to it tomorrow.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Take a Chill Pill on Polls

Remember -- in periods when we are not in an election campaign, the polls are merely a reflection of news coverage. And that is rarely good for the GOP.

Let me repeat -- the polls on George W. Bush( to the extent they are even accurate) say more about the news media than they do about President Bush.

Patrick Ruffini has related thoughts here.

Hittin' the road

We will be on the road the next couple of days. Blogging will resume (I hope)after the weekend.

Great Economic Outlook

Larry Kudlow has it all covered here. Note:
first-quarter wages and salaries were revised up by a huge $163 billion, with the measure growing 7.5 percent over the year-ago pace. That explains double-digit federal tax-collection returns: Lower tax-rates have expanded incomes, which are in turn throwing off more revenues. This, of course, is the Laffer-curve effect.

More on TN Democrat John Ford

Forgot to mention one more thing about John Ford in my earlier post here. It appears that Sen. Ford has 7 children by three different women (at least those are the ones he has to pay child support for) and currently maintains 2 different households complete with women and children.

And neither of the households is in his district.

Housing Bubbles?

Will Collier at Vodkapundit has an interesting post on bubble-like activity in Atlanta and the Florida panhandle. I found it especially interesting because the house we are renting this week on the beach at St. George Island recently sold for $3 million.

I know that a lot of people can get hurt if a market crashes, many of whom haven't done anything stupid. But if, or when, some of these over-heated markets do, there will be some great opportunities for people with cash. (Note -- I don't think housing is in a bubble all over the country, but a few places seem to be overheated. Where people primarily own first homes, this isn't as big a problem as it will be in an area where speculation involves second homes and investment properties.)

Education Reform

Betsy Newmark has a good post on how standards and accountability have forced educators to get serious about helping minority children improve.

It appears that the small step toward requiring schools to actually account for their performance has given educators a glimpse of the real world.

Vacation Plans

Later today, we are heading off to Florida for a week. I hope to keep blogging, but don't know how much.

Lipscomb exposes the MSM

Thomas Lipscomb takes the MSM to task for stonewalling the Foley comments on our troops targeting journalists in Iraq. He sums up the degradation of media credibillity thusly:
If the most basic tenets of Journalism 101 are now no longer important enough for the media itself to honor and defend against their own members who violate them, where is the professionalism and the authority that is our main claim to writing the indispensable “first draft of history” – much less its value for sale? And if we lose sight of that irretrievably, who needs us? There are bloggers out there today with more credibility than Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, Eason Jordan, and Linda Foley combined, and their audiences are growing.

If Foley is allowed to walk unchallenged from what Mencken might have called “a clear, simple, and” unproven statement, it will only accelerate the speed at which her members lose what is left of their credibility--and then their jobs.

The Steve Loveladys of the world must love reading that -- bloggers with more credibility than CBS, CNN and the president of the Guild combined. But hey -- the truth hurts.

Tennessee Democrats Indicted

Bill Hobbs is good place to keep up with the story.

All those indicted are Democrats except for one Rino who is a lapdog for the Democratic Speaker of the House, Jimmy Naifeh. For those of you who are not familiar with Tennessee politics, the speaker has the most powerful post in state government. There have been a few Republicans in the House who have gone over to the dark side in exchange for small dollops of power handed out by Naifeh. Naifeh has made quite a bit of money from his position of power -- his wife is a very successful lobbyist in Nashville.

The backdrop of this investigation is really interesting because Republicans made a big push this year to strengthen ethics rules for government which the Democrats fought tooth and nail. Naifeh demonstrates that it is only the small time corruption which is illegal. Big bucks corruption that makes people like Naifeh, Tom Daschle or Tom Foley wealthy is perfectly legal.

One last note -- John Ford, the one whose indictment includes threats to kill anyone who exposed his corruption, is the same one who was tried a few years ago for shooting at a trucker while he was driving on the highway. He's also the one who was recently revealed to have used campaign funds to pay for his daughter's wedding. And he's the one who forgot to reveal his receipt of over 200 grand from a company which got a lucrative state contract.

This probably isn't good news for his nephew, Harold, who is the Congressman from Memphis and a recently announced candidate for US Senate. Especially since young Harold's only qualification for office is his family's political machine in Memphis.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

More on McCain

D J Drummond points out this about a McCain interview in the New Yorker:
“When people are in close races, I am the first Republican who is asked to come and appear for that person. I am the most sought-after of all Republicans. In this last campaign, I was the one asked by the President to travel and campaign with him…. When you look at the rank and file of ordinary Republicans, I’m extremely popular–it’s some of the party apparatchiks who still harbor bad feelings toward me. But it is a little hard for them to do that now, because of my strong support for Bush….Particularly since the 2004 campaign, there has been a great softening of dislike for me.”

Drummond then writes:
Count how many times McCain says “I” or “me”. Now count how many times he says “Republican”. How many times does he mention “America”?

What is it with Senators named ‘ John’? McCain was once a man to respect, who deserved honor for his integrity. I sure wish that John McCain would return…
I wrote about McCain's honor and integrity here.

Extraordinary Circumstances

Cox and Forkum give us an example of what constitutes "extraordinary circumstances" justifying a filibuster.

Get Social Security through the House before 2006 elections

David Hogberg makes a good point. If President Bush gets a social security reform bill to pass the House, the GOP can use Democratic obstruction in the Senate to good effect in the 2006 election. Perhaps that will give him the numbers to then succeed in the Senate.

The Myth of the Theocrats

Glenn has this on a column by Howard Fineman about the impact of religious voters on the GOP. Fineman's piece is as silly as one would expect. It reads like it was written by someone at the DNC. We could fisk it, but who has that kind of time? The Instapundit, however, is a disappointment because we expect better. He writes:
There's a relatively small group -- under 20% of the electorate, I'd guess -- that would really like to recast American society under far more religiously determined lines.
I agree that it is a small group. It his estimate that is ridiculous. Glenn is basically saying that close to half the GOP voters want to "recast American society under far more religiously determined lines." That is complete BS. And Glenn knows better.

Let's start with the fact that Republican voters who base their support on their religious views don't make up anywhere near half the party. Remember that it was only a few years ago that the GOP was fretting that Evangelicals weren't voting. They basically agreed with GOP positions on most issues, but weren't active in the political process and generally didn't vote. For anyone to say that they now represent almost half the party is just silly.

Second, more than anything else, Evangelicals are part of what Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich used to describe as the "leave us alone coalition". That is why Glenn's assertion that they want to recast society on religious lines is so far off base. They are active in politics today because they are under assault. They don't want to recast anything. They simply want the assaults to stop.

Third, if there is some group representing tens of millions of GOP voters wanting to recast society on religious lines, what lines does Glenn mean? What are these great social changes that drive these religious voters? How will our lives and society be changed?

Fineman says that voters turned away from big government liberalism a generation ago and suggests that there may now be a backlash against the bible. I think we can all agree that big government liberalism did, in fact, dominate Beltway politics for many decades. Can anyone provide any evidence that the Bible has dominated federal policies for even a moment? What great political victories have been won by these bible-thumping theocrats? Can anyone name even one?

Anti-Military Bias?

Michelle Malkin has the goods. What a nasty, hate-filled cartoon!

Thomas Lifson sums up winners and losers

Thomas Lifson at the American Thinker is always worth reading. His summary of the deal is right on. He says the biggest winners are Robert Byrd and John McCain.
Byrd, the master of the Senate mutual back-scratching deal, has avoided becoming an embarrassing spectacle as he reprised his filibuster role from the 1960s Civil Rights Act drama, a compelling portrait of an anti-black, ex-KKK Kleagle. Unlike the original, the Twenty-first Century remake would have been televised on C-SPAN II in glorious color, making far greater the damage to the Democrats’ hold on the essential lock on the black vote.

As for John McCain, once again he is in a position to make himself seen and heard, and to demand whatever he wants from the Senate Republicans and even from President Bush. He now holds hostage GOP solidarity on future judicial nomination filibusters, so they had better pay attention to his wants and needs. He and his Merry Band can defeat a rules change.

The mystery is what he will demand and get in return. He long ago lost any hold on the hearts of the conservative voting base, but he has renewed his claim on the voters in the middle of the political spectrum, Republicans, Democrats, and independents. For a man who loves the spotlight, praise from the media, and the ability to bend the powerful to his will on selected occasions, it is a very nice victory indeed. For the moment.

I think this is correct. McCain has won for the moment, but may well regret it later. Byrd got a huge win be avoiding showing the world what an ass he is.

I'm an Enterpriser

Via Betsy, I am an Enterpriser. Here is the test. Had I read the description before answering the questions, I could have told you that.

The description of the people in this group had some stats which don't get enough attention. I have always maintained that liberals in the media get it badly wrong when they say that the GOP is the party of big business. In reality, small business owners (and the self-employed) are the strongest supporters of the party. Big business and big labor tend to favor big government.

And another detail -- people in this group follow the news and are better informed than those in any other group (which probably explains why they are in this group). This is something that Rush has been saying about his listeners for years. Next time some provincial news media type shows his ignorance by asserting that Rush Limbaugh listeners (or listeners of talk radio in general) are uneducated fools, remember who is actually showing himself to be a fool.

Here are the various profiles.

Deacon Nails the Deal

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line gets right to the essence of The Deal:
Senator McCain is right about one thing -- this deal boils down to trust. I trust the Democrats to behave like Democrats, which means in and (sic) unprincipled fashion. And I trust the moderate Republicans to behave like moderate Republicans, which means lots of talk and no action.

To Hell with Newsweek

Via Glenn, Charles Johnson has the latest on why Newsweek can go straight to hell. When you add in the fact that they are owned by the Washington Post, you have to conclude that they have no redeeming virtues at all.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Thomas Sowell - Liberals Stoke Black Paranoia

Thomas Sowell has a great column on why liberals slander successful blacks and seek to keep blacks paranoid.
If the share of the black vote that goes to the Democrats ever falls to 70 percent, it may be virtually impossible for the Democrats to win the White House or Congress, because they have long ago lost the white male vote and their support among other groups is eroding. Against that background, it is possible to understand their desperate efforts to keep blacks paranoid, not only about Republicans but about American society in general.

Liberal Democrats, especially, must keep blacks fearful of racism everywhere, including in an administration whose Cabinet includes people of Chinese, Japanese, Hispanic, and Jewish ancestry, and two consecutive black Secretaries of State. Blacks must be kept believing that their only hope lies with liberals.

Not only must the present be distorted, so must the past -- and any alternative view of the future must be nipped in the bud. That is why prominent minority figures who stray from the liberal plantation must be discredited, debased and, above all, kept from becoming federal judges.

Smearing someone such as Janice Rogers Brown is just about politics for liberals.
It's "not personal" as they say when they smear someone. It doesn't matter how outstanding or upstanding Justice Brown is. She is a threat to the power that means everything to liberal politicians. The Democrats' dependence on blacks for votes means that they must keep blacks dependent on them.

Black self-reliance would be almost as bad as blacks becoming Republicans, as far as liberal Democrats are concerned. All black progress in the past must be depicted as the result of liberal government programs and all hope of future progress must be depicted as dependent on the same liberalism.

He makes a good point about revisionist history.
In reality, reductions in poverty among blacks and the rise of blacks into higher level occupations were both more pronounced in the years leading up to the civil rights legislation and welfare state policies of the 1960s than in the years that followed.

And of course, Republicans supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act in far greater numbers than did Democrats. Finally, he points out how little interest liberals have in actually helping black children succeed in school.
What blacks have achieved for themselves, without the help of liberals, is of no interest to liberals. Nothing illustrates this better than political reactions to academically successful black schools.

Anyone who is serious about the advancement of blacks would want to know what is going on in those ghetto schools whose students have reading and math scores above the national average, when so many other ghetto schools are miles behind in both subjects. But virtually all the studies of such schools have been done by conservatives, while liberals have been strangely silent.

Achievement is not what liberalism is about. Victimhood and dependency are.

More Democrats' Lies about Social Security

Don Luskin has this piece at NRO which exposes another flagrant lie about the President's proposals.
Democrats are attacking the idea of progressive price indexing as an attempt to slash benefits for the middle class. But that’s simply a lie. According to Social Security Administration models, for the middle 20 percent of average lifetime wage earners — surely that defines the “middle class” — progressive price indexing would increase benefits payable in 2050 from $1,208 (in 2005 dollars) to $1,380. And that doesn’t even include the additional increase in benefits that would accrue from investing in personal accounts. And the benefit improvement is even greater for workers below the middle class.

The Democrats are ignoring those figures. Instead, liberal think tanks (like the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities) and liberal pundits (like Paul Krugman) are focusing on the purportedly middle-class $60,000 wage earner, whose benefits — they claim — would be lower under progressive price indexing. The claims are false, because these opponents ignore the fact that, under current law, benefits will automatically be slashed across-the-board after 2041 when the Social Security Trust Fund’s assets are depleted.

And the Democrats’ claims are false because $60,000 in Social Security wages is anything but middle class. Remember, your wages used for calculating Social Security benefits are an average of your 35 best years. If that average is $60,000, chances are it included a number of years when your earnings were considerably less. With that in mind it should be no surprise that, according to the Social Security Administration actuaries, only 15 percent of Social Security beneficiaries have $60,000 or more in average earnings. Yet Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi calls such people “solidly middle class.”

Isn't it interesting how flexible Democrats can be? The top 15% is "solidly middle class" in this instance. Of course, when the topic was tax cuts, those whose earnings are in far lower percentiles were called "the rich".

Supply Side Economics Proven Right Again

Larry Kudlow had this on the large "unexpected" increase in tax revenues as a result of the Bush tax cuts. He writes:
the news of higher tax payments is big. And the real story behind the numbers is the successful supply-side experiment that began in the middle of 2003, when investment tax rates were slashed on capital gains and dividends. With new incentives to counter the deflation of investment during the 2000-02 period, both capital formation and economic growth came back from the dead.

Real GDP since the tax cuts has averaged 4.3 percent at an annual rate, whereas growth was only 2.4 percent during the anemic recovery that preceded the tax cuts. The latest government data on tax collections for calendar-year 2004 confirm a tax-cut-led recovery through the explosion of tax receipts at lower tax rates. Once again, the Laffer curve is working.

With more people keeping more of what they earn and invest, after-tax, a major new economic boom has been launched. Enormous wealth creation from real estate, stocks, and small-business formation is the backbone of this entrepreneurial recovery. Despite the rantings of the naysayers in the mainstream media and on parts of Wall Street, strong economic expansion will continue for many years to come.

Wash Post "Journalism"

Will Collier at Vodkapundit has a good takedown of the silly blather from Terry Neal at the Washington Post. Read the whole thing (it is short). The best part is about Neal's assertion that journalism is a profession for liberals because liberals have high standards (unlike conservatives).

Honor Lost

Whatever honor and integrity John McCain may have had left has now been sacrificed. Some may say that he chose to give up honor when he became a politician, but surely there have been many who actually performed public service in elective office without tarnishing themselves the way he has.

For McCain this represents a real loss. People like Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, or the Clintons have never demonstrated that they have any familiarity with honor. But as the son of a Naval officer and a graduate of the Naval Academy, honor was a concept that was once very real to someone such as McCain. His actions as a POW in Vietnam were apparently in keeping with an understanding of honor. However, this latest sellout is part of a recent history which tarnishes any notion of honor.

The judicial nominees whom McCain eagerly threw under the bus are, from all accounts, people of integrity who have lived lives of distinction. They have been the victims of extremely vicious slanders and character assassination by the very people in the Senate McCain has embraced and praised. By his actions, McCain has added his concurrence to the slanders. A man of honor would never sellout the honor of another for his own personal advancement the way McCain has.

I have no doubt that his fellow officers and especially those who went to the Academy are appalled at the way McCain has behaved. Honor and integrity should mean more. He once knew that they did.

Monday, May 23, 2005

John Leo on MSM's Diversity Problem

This column by John Leo is a must read. I want to highlight one paragraph:
I once complained to an important news executive that he ignored certain kinds of stories. He said that he would like to do them but that his staff wouldn’t let him. He admitted his staff had been assembled from one side—guess which?—of the political spectrum. This conversation hardened my conviction that the biggest flaw in mainstream journalism today is the lack of diversity.

This is all the proof we'll ever need that the MSM is biased (partisan actually) and knows it. They know that the charge of bias is made constantly. They know that their staff's are overwhelmingly liberal. And they admit that the liberal make-up of the staff affects their reporting.

If they weren't partisan, they would make it a top priority to hire some conservative reporters, editors and columnists to insure ideological diversity. That they don't proves that they WANT to produce the biased stuff that they do. And that is more proof of partisanship.

Press Corps Partisans

I meant to do a post on the ridiculous partisanship apparent in the questions asked of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan last week. David Limbaugh does a decent job of covering the subject. I think the entire transcript is available through a link at Hugh Hewitt.

Limbaugh doesn't do enough to capture the snarkiness in the sneer by NY Times' reporter Elisabeth Bumiller about writing a positive story about the military.

Star Wars and Disney World

Lileks has this in today's Bleat
I plan to see Star Wars this week, because it’s the law.
I read that to my wife a minute ago and she laughed and said, "Just like Disney World. You have to do it. You don't even stop to ask yourself if you really want to or not."

The first time we went to Disney, Madison had just turned five. It was November and the temperature got warm enough to get sweaty in mid-afternoon. You carried that dried sweat feeling until you left the park at 9 pm. One evening we were taking the tram back to the parking lot. A boy and girl in one family were crying over whose toy had been broken already by whom. Everyone was tired and cranky. My wife leaned over and whispered to me, "No one is smiling." There wasn't a smile on the tram that I could see.

I can't imagine going in July and I lived in Orlando for 8 years! I actually didn't mind playing golf on summer afternoons in that heat, but I wouldn't want to do Disney then.

Imagine driving down a local highway in the heat of summer and seeing a new attraction with this offer: you and your family can stand in line in the heat for an hour; at the end of the hour, you get to watch wooden puppets move their lips to a song like "It's a Small World after All" for all of five minutes. Cost -- 50 bucks.

I'm not sure that such an attraction would succeed. But that's Disney World -- except you get to do it 10 hours a day for 4 days. And then drive all day to get home.

My kids can't wait to do it again.

Newsweek Does It AGAIN!

Glenn had a rundown on reaction to the first Newsweek mess which included this. Newsweek will find itself in the real trash can far sooner than America despite the magazine's best efforts.

Next time some liberal wrings his hands and asks why "they" hate us, the answer will be because of our MSM enemies in America putting out vicious propaganda like this.

Leaving the Left

This is all over the web, but I'm posting it just in case some of my readers missed it over the weekend. Writer Keith Thompson wrote this for the San Francisco Chronicle describing how the Left has abandoned the liberal values which caused him to become a liberal in the first place.

Democrats and MSM are drowning together

I first posted this back in March. Given the increased readership, I thought it might be worth putting up again. I made one of the central points here over a few cold ones after a Blog Nashville session. A well-known blogger thought it made a lot of sense. That was, that the Democrats are basically a corpse being kept alive with life support provided by the MSM. Ironically, this will ultimately help the GOP because Democrats are fooled into thinking that major changes are not necessary. The longer the inevitable reckoning is postponed, the longer will be the period of GOP electoral dominance in DC. Here it is.

Mark Steyn on a News Media Fraud

Note -- I moved this up from Saturday'a posts because I really want readers to see it (weekend traffic is only a third of weekday viewing).

Les Jones had a note about this greatest hits request by Mark Steyn. Steyn describes how incredibly fraudulent the news media was in covering the so-called Million Mom March:
As to their maternal status, Wednesday's Washington Post put it this way: "The Million Mom March was conceived last August in a suburban New Jersey mother's living room." Donna Dees-Thomases "called a few friends, and they called a few friends, and within a week they had an idea." Ah, citizen activism, you can't beat it. According to ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, she's "a typical mom." According to Diane Sawyer, Ms. Dees-Thomases has "never really organized anything larger than a car pool." According to NBC's Lisa Myers, she's "a suburban mom, too busy with her two daughters and a part-time job to pay much attention to politics."

Car pool, 'burbs, daughters, Jersey: you get the idea. In fact, Ms. Dees-Thomases used to pay quite a bit of attention to politics: she was a staffer to two Louisiana Democrat senators, Russell Long and Bennett Johnston. Perhaps she snoozed her way through those jobs, spending most of her time on the phone organizing car pools for fellow soccer moms. But she's been paying enough attention to politics in recent months to be a contributor to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign. Still, maybe she was just helping out a family member: Her sister-in-law, Susan Thomases, is Hillary's closest political advisor.

He also points out that the part about the idea being conceived in her NJ living room is also a stretch. The idea actually came while at Fire Island.
But "The Million Mom March was conceived last August in a gay resort community by a Hillary Clinton donor who's never organized anything larger than a Democratic senator's office" doesn't have quite the same ring, does it? And why should ABC, NBC, The Washington Post and The New York Times be expected to know any of this? Just because half her surname might have rung a vague bell is no reason to leap to conclusions and assume she's connected with Susan Thomases
But Steyn isn't done having fun with the extraordinary effort the news media undertook to avoid telling the truth:
By now, you may be curious about that "part-time job," as NBC coyly referred to it. A couple of waitressing shifts? A little secretarial work for the school superintendent’s office? No, Donna is a part-time publicist for David Letterman's Late Show. Before that, she was a full-time publicist for CBS news anchor Dan Rather. CBS This Morning was one of the first news shows to report the Million Mom March movement last September, when Hattie Kauffman interviewed Donna. "What," asked Hattie, "turns a mild-mannered suburban mom into an anti-gun activist?"

The correct answer is: "A leave of absence from my employer, CBS, which, by remarkable coincidence, is also your employer, Hattie." But that's not what Donna said. Only in the last week has CBS News begun disclosing that she's one of theirs. As to Ms. Dees-Thomases' work for those two Dem senators, not one U.S. newspaper or TV network has mentioned them, with the exception of Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel.
Steyn also points out something I have noted on this blog -- how liberals, whether politicians like the Clintons or in the news media, assert their incompetence as a defense to charges they are corrupt.
Every year, tens of thousands of pro-life women descend on Washington on the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. And every year they're buried at the foot of the "Local News Briefs" on page E29. When you remark on the contrast between their perennial obscurity and the delirious coverage of the Milling Mall Moms, the news honchos say, "Ah, well. That's because the Million Moms are so much more media-savvy." What kind of kinky post-modern response is that? Don't worry, we're not biased, we're just easily manipulated, and who better to manipulate us than Dan Rather's press agent?

Steyn's bottom line says it all:
what happened with Donna Dees-Thomases goes beyond "bias": In essence, America's major news outlets colluded in the perpetration of a fraud on their audiences.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Wisdom and Happiness Quotes?

Seven or eight years ago, my Microsoft Windows had a time scheduling part of the calendar which included stuff from Covey's First Things First. One part included a lot of quotes on happiness, wisdom, etc. Anyone know where I can access that stuff today?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Cingular Update

Tried to call the 800 number to get the cell phone replaced. Not only is the display fogged up, but now the phone is locked up. I can't dial numbers or anything.

After punching all the menu numbers to get through to the point where I could actually speak to someone (in theory), I was told by a recording that the wait might be 10 minutes or longer. I didn't like it, but decided to wait however long it took and get this taken care of. I need the phone for work and will need it when I am on vacation a week from now.

I waited for 10 minutes (I timed it) and they hung up on me.

I am still trying to figure out if they are really this incompetent or just engaged in a deliberate effort to make it hard to return phones. This is no way to treat a customer. If this is typical, this company does not have a good future. I certainly won't be buying the stock.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Military Haters in the Press

American Thinker has a piece that everyone should read. After a quick overview of the recent sins of the MSM toward the military, Ed Lasky takes us back to Vietnam and the journalist hired by Time Magazine who was actually a spy for the North Vietnamese communists. He is the subject of a current article in the New Yorker. Lots of journalists spoke about working with the spy. Bottom line:
Not one journalist interviewed for the article had a negative word to say about a traitor and a spy whose devious efforts helped to cause the death and the maiming of thousands. Not one.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

MSM Mentality

Tom Bevan does a great job over at Real Clear Politics. Today, he has this titled "The Mentality Behind the MSM." Read it all.

In addition to the questions that Keller should answer from May, he might also explain why the paper has never investigated the reports that John Kerry may have been dishonorably discharged.

Nat Hentoff on NY Times Dishonesty

Via Betsy I saw this from Nat Hentoff in The Village Voice. He says that the Times'
editorial writers should be as accountable as the Times' reporters—when the editorial sages ignore the facts in a story and deeply sully someone's reputation.
Hentoff is a liberal and we ought to be shocked when the Times is caught lying so blatantly. Sadly, we are not.

Hentoff explains how badly the Times has treated Janice Rogers Brown and then writes
This disdain for basic research echoes a dispute I've had previously with Gail Collins, editor of the Times' editorial page.

In a number of Voice columns, I showed how Times editorials repeatedly more than implied that then Mississippi federal district judge Charles Pickering—nominated to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals—was racially biased when he got the Justice Department to allow him to impose a lesser sentence in a Mississippi cross burning outside the home of an interracial couple. (That defendant was not the ringleader and his accomplices had avoided jail time.)

The Times' own reporters, Neil Lewis and David Firestone, had gone to Mississippi to get the facts on Pickering's anti-racist record in that state, and the reason he had intervened in the cross-burning case. So had The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which did the research the Times' editorial board ignored. (Many media outlets around the country, however, ignorantly circulated "the paper of record" 's damaging characterization of Pickering.

Hentoff wraps it all up with this:
Several times, I left detailed messages for Gail Collins at the Times, giving her the true facts of Pickering's record—as Times reporters had found—but I never received an answer. Dan Okrent, the Times' ombudsman, told me he would write about this journalistic malfeasance, but he hasn't.

Will Dan Okrent's successor, Barney Calame, formerly of The Wall Street Journal, dare to call to account the writer of the April 28 editorial scandalizing Janice Rogers Brown—and will he ask Gail Collins if she deigns to have a fact checker looking at the editorials she sends out as the voice of the Times?

Future of the Filibuster (II)

Betsy Newmark points out this piece by Wonderkraut and writes:
The Wonder Kraut has some advice for the Republicans. Don't worry about being nice and precedents that the Democrats might use against you if the GOP is ever in the minority. Don't you know that, even if the GOP doesn't pull the trigger on judicial filibuster, that the Democrats will still use all that has been said now as a precedent and do whatever they like.
My readers may remember I made the same point back on May 2 here.

Blaming Rush for Murder

Glenn Reynolds addresses the argument by David Brooks that Newsweek shouldn't be held responsible for the rioting of Muslims. He points out that the NY Times hasn't been accurate portraying the true nature of these folks up to now.
It may have taken a journalistic scandal to unclog the pipes, but it's nice to see people finally noticing this, and holding the "Arab" (or at least Muslim) "street" to account as moral agents. That hardly excuses Newsweek's journalistic failings, though. (And I suspect that if a falsehood by Rush Limbaugh had led to a race riot, people wouldn't be taking this tack.)

Note to Glenn -- Rush didn't even have to pass on a falsehood to get blamed for murder. Remember -- Bill Clinton pointed the finger at Rush as being responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. And that was simply because Rush was a conservative!

Facts, Not Policy, What We Argue About

Some time last year I sent an e-mail to Bill Hobbs making this point. The Dave Winer comments about how we can all agree that the economy sucks reminded me to mention it here.

We have a tendency to focus on policy when we think of the differences which divide liberals and conservatives. I am struck by the extent to which so much of what divides us today is a very stark difference in our "understanding" of the facts. Ultimately, the blame for this falls directly on the news media, but that probably deserves a separate post. Right now, I simply want to make the point that liberals and conservatives "KNOW" very different things to be true. Pick just about any hot button topic and this is the case.

Have you ever noticed that most political arguments seem to involve people talking past each other? I first noticed this 20 years ago reading the typical Yes/No pieces which papers sometimes run in their Sunday political section. An advocate from each side of an issue (perhaps some initiative) prepares a column. Unfortunately, each completely ignores the strongest facts and arguments presented by the other. Often, a reader is left with far more questions after reading both pieces. It has only gotten worse.

Dave Winer "knows" that the economy sucks. I wouldn't be surprised if he "knows" that Iraq is a quagmire and that Bush "lied" about WMDs. Now I know that some readers want to interject that these are opinions. And that is true. However, opinions are based on some factual predicate. And responsible opinions must reflect some understanding of history. One might opine that 5% unemployment is bad or that 4% growth is inadequate, but history tells a different story and such opinions would be hard to take seriously.

Examples of the "facts" that are central to liberal political debate have included: that the homeless numbered over 3 million, that women are paid substantially less than men for the same job, that blacks suffer extensive job discrimination, that the air and water are getting dirtier (especially since Bush became president), that the poor and middle class haven't improved their standard of living, that the Bush tax cuts favored the rich, that the economy last year was the worst since the depression, that outsourcing jobs increases unemployment and many others of a similar vein.

Of course, each of those "facts" above can be shown empirically to be false. No matter. They are central to the "debate" and, in fact, matter more than the policy choices being debated.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jonah makes a whale of a good point

Jonah Goldberg makes a good point over at NRO that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere.
But what on earth was gained by Newsweek’s decision to publish the story — whether it was true or not? Were we unaware that interrogators at Gitmo aren’t playing bean bag with detainees? To me the similarities with the Abu Ghraib are greatest not in terms of the abuse but in terms of the media’s unreflective willingness to undermine the war on terror. We saw the photos from Abu Ghraib on the nightly news and in the newspapers far, far more than we saw video of American leaping to their doom from the top of the Trade Towers. Why? Well, according to the Brahmins of the media, it would be irresponsible to stir American passions with such inflammatory images. But the relentless gray strobe light of images showing Arab men in dog collars and black hoods was necessary to inform the public — even though the abuses were already being investigated by the proper authorities. In other words, American passions are to be feared and tamped down on whenever possible, while there’s nothing too worrisome about inciting Arab and Muslim passions, even when that attitude plays perfectly into the hands of the people we’re fighting.

I just can’t help but think the media’s priorities are backward.

He nails the MSM with this. OK to inflame fanatics who tend to slash and bomb when upset. Not OK to show the towers coming down. Hmmmmm. "The media's unreflective willingness to undermine" the US war effort. I agree. In other words, they don't think too well and they are willingly anti-American. Just about sums it up.

MSM Will Not Change

Stephen Green at Vodkapundit makes a point that needs to be stressed. The MSM will not change.
Yes, Newsweek and Michael Isikoff screwed up.

Yes, because of their screw-up, people died.

Yes, the US position in the Middle East and Central Asia was damaged - not fatally, but perhaps permanently.

No - nothing will change in the way the MSM conducts business.

Let me repeat that, just to make myself clear: Nothing will change. No improvements will be made. For the MSM, the lesson learned is not "let's stick to the facts next time." The lesson is, "let's be more careful in how we present what we think the story is/should be."

If there's any kind of tipping point here, it will be in how the public perceives the news. There will be no change, none at all, in how the MSM perceives the news - nor in how it will choose to shape the story.

He then makes a great point -- 9/11 didn't change the way the media does business. If 9/11 didn't, this sure won't.

Bud Selig's Mess

I was listening to Mike and Mike in the morning on ESPN Radio while driving my son to school this morning. They had Bill Curry on and the topic was Congress and steroids. Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball has apparently threatened the baseball players union by saying that they must agree to his proposal regarding punishment for those who test positive or he will ask Congress to pass legislation.

The last thing that the commissioners of the NFL, NBA, and NHL want is for Congress to get involved. Surely Selig also understands what a potential disaster can result when Congress gets on a roll. So why would he even mention such a possibility? Bill Curry said that Selig is a smart person and must have a good reason. While I have a lot of respect for Bill Curry, I'm not so sure.

Bill needs to remember that Selig is the one who was shocked to discover that baseball games sometimes go into extra innings. Ordinarily, we might expect the commissioner of baseball to know about extra innings. But not this one. Anyone who remembers the travesty of the All-Star game which had to be suspended because there were no more pitchers available can recall Selig's comments about how he never imagined that a game might be tied at the end of nine innings.

If anyone is offering a bet on Bud Selig's IQ, I'd be inclined to take the under.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Okrent to retire; Times still a propaganda rag

Jay Rosen at Pressthink has praise for Daniel Okrent who is completing an 18 month stint as public editor of the NY Times. I am sure that Don Luskin at Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid does not. Go to Don's index and look through all the posts on the NY Times for a flavor.

Ultimately, Okrent would have kept his credibility intact if he had been able to face reality and admit it the way a former Washington Post ombudsman did. While performing the same job for the Post that Okrent tried to perform for the Times, he admitted what we all know to be true -- that the news media is partisan. I outlined the details of this story in a post earlier this year. One of my readers informed me that his name was Richard Harwood.

Short version -- on a C-Span panel in the early 90s, he declared that the news media was politically partisan and had been his entire career. He gave his first assignment as a reporter as an example. He began his journalism career in the 50s with the Tennessean in Nashville. His first assignment was to write a campaign speech for a political candidate favored by the paper. He then covered the speech, wrote a glowing report and drafted the paper's editorial endorsing the politician's candidacy. Four decades later, he said, the partisanship was still pervasive.

The news media's failure of credibility is entirely due to an absence of other journalists with that kind of honesty.

Cingular needs some William Millers

I bought a new cell phone at a Cingular dealer this spring. The display on the front has clouded up so that I can't see what number is calling. So I took it back to the dealer because it is under warranty. Sorry, they can't just swap it out with one they have in inventory. Maybe the Cingular office can help.

Nope, Cingular requires that I call or go online. They will send me a phone and I can ship mine back to them. Wouldn't it be a lot easier for me to just get a new phone from inventory and let Cingular worry about shipping the pnones back and forth? Apparently not.

So I took the card with the 800 number and called. After an interminable wait on hold, I had to hang up. Next time I tried I was informed that my call wasn't during proper hours. Then I went online.

After I had to put my password in for the 5th time, I was starting to get a little irritated. I never did find a place on their site to intitiate a swap. I found the page that told me I could call the 800 number or click "here" to do it online. Except clicking "here" always took me somewhere else.

Finally, I sent an e-mail. And of course, they don't just let you send the e-mail. You first have to play 20 questions about what kind of e-mail you want to send. They e-mailed me back the next day. They were sorry for the problems on the web site, but I could just call the 800 number if I'd rather do it that way.

If anyone at Cingular should ever read this, what I'd rather do is take my phone to your store and swap it for one of the same model you have for sale. Real damn simple. And then you can fool around with shipping the phones. If you insist on your present system, get someone to answer the phone or get someone to design a web site that works.

Somehow, I have a feeling that if I had bought the phone from William Miller, he'd already have the situation taken care of. After all, he gives better service for free than Cingular does for a customer who pays them more than 1500 bucks a year.


Thank You, William Miller!

I was driving over to Oak Ridge to pick up my son and his friends from practice yesterday when I had a flat tire. I was struggling with the little Rube Goldberg device that was supposed to be the jack for our van when a pick up truck pulled off the highway and parked in front of me. This was a working pick up with Morgan County plates (Wartburg is the county seat) and the man who got out to help me looked like someone who was comfortable around hard work.

He went to the back of his truck and unstrapped a quality jack. He had the van jacked up in no time while I was working the lug nuts off. We got the tire changed in a flash and I asked him if I could pay him for his help. Of course not. He just asked that I do the same for someone else. As he was strapping the jack back down in the bed of the pick up, he advised me that I ought to get a good one for myself -- they were available for a good price at a local store.

We were both back in our respective vehicles and about to pull off when I had an idea. I jumped out and asked him if he ever got on the internet. When he said he did, I told him to check out this site today. He could read about himself. The name patch on his shirt said William -- what was his last name? Miller, he said. All right, William Miller, we'll see you tomorrow at Two Minute Offense.

I just want to say that people like William are the reason I love living here in Tennessee. I know there are good people all over the world. I just think that this area has an extra helping.

Thank you again, William Miller. You have yourself a great day!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Two good cartoons

I make it a point to check these two cartoon sites regularly. Both Chris Muir and Cox and Forkum have good ones today.

Why Iraqis Didn't Riot

Glenn has lots of stuff on the Newsweek debacle. Included in his updates is the observation that there was no rioting in Iraq.

The Iraqis have a lot of experience upon which to evaluate the credibility of the American news media. Perhaps they didn't riot because they no longer believe what our MSM reports.

Dave's Instalanche

Congratulations to Dave Pinto at Baseball Musings on his instalanche.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Richard Pryor Moment for Democrats?

Working on a long post examining whether the Democrats have degraded their credibility for so long that they have reached a tipping point with South Park conservatives and other voters from the middle. How much does it take before they become a joke?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Wow! This is soooo COOOOL!

..to quote my 11 year-old son.

Thanks to Dave Pinto, I finally got a site meter to check traffic on this blog. {Dave and I met at BlogNashville and he told me where to go for one and patiently responded with an e-mail when I confessed I had forgotten.) And being the All-world procrasinator that I am, I didn't get around to actually doing it until yesterday afternoon. After completing the steps, I couldn't find anything on the site, so I figured I had screwed it up somehow.

But this morning, I had an e-mail with a weekly traffic report. I was shocked at how many people checked this site on a Friday evening. Talk about a rush!

When you get only an occasional comment or e-mail, you sometimes wonder if you are writing for only a handful of people. I think most bloggers post first and foremost for themselves, but it still makes a difference knowing that people take an interest in your thoughts.

Thanks to all of you. I'll have a smile on my face all weekend.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Why won't MSM tell the truth?

Hugh Hewitt points us toward this blog by a Marine major who flies Cobras. The major says:
For some reason, the MSM apparently still thinks we’re fighting Iraqis. Perhaps they’re out of touch…. Perhaps they’re cowering to threats…. Perhaps they have an anti-American agenda. The truth is that we haven’t been fighting against Iraq since the Spring of 2003. What we have been fighting are the variety of Islamofacist hoards attempting to take control of a freshly liberated Iraq and return it to the previous era of oppression and cruelty.

Why don’t they report that we are fighting WITH Iraqis? Why don’t they report that a significant number of “insurgents” and “militants” are made up of Syrians, Jordanians, Saudis, Pakistanis, Egyptians, and Iranians? Why don’t they report how these guys terrorize the local Iraqi populace with horrific torture, rape, and murder? Why don’t they report how the “militants” set hospitals on fire, or hide in schools, or grab children on playgrounds and use them as human shields?

Major, they don't report all that because to do so would undermine their very partisan propaganda efforts. We all know that their "reporting" has led to more of our military and Iraqi civilians being killed. They know it, too. But your blood ls a price the MSM is willing to pay to help their party politically.

Can CBS do journalism anymore?

Our friends at Power Line have this story on Ken Starr's interview with Gloria Borger for CBS about the filibusters of judicial nominees. Apparently, CBS edited the interview in such a way that they reversed Starr's meaning. As Power Line explains:
The segment included an interview with Ken Starr, in which Starr, seemingly in reference to the Republicans' effort to end the filibuster, said: "This is a radical, radical departure from our history and from our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government." You can watch the CBS report here. The two Starr quotes are the main feature of the segment; what is most interesting to me is Bob Schieffer's reaction: he clearly understood Starr to be talking about the Republican effort in the above quote.

Only he wasn't. Starr learned of how CBS had edited his interview, and has made public an email in which he wrote:

I sat on Saturday with Gloria Borger for 20 minutes approximately, had a wide ranging, on-camera discussion. In the piece that I have now seen, and which I gather has been lavishly quoted, CBS employed two snippets. The 'radical departure from our history' snippet was specifically addressed to the practice of invoking judicial philosophy as a grounds for voting against a qualified nominee of integrity and experience. I said in sharp language that that practice was wrong. I contrasted the current practice and that employed viciously against your father with what occurred during Ruth Ginsburg's nomination process as numerous Republicans voted, rightly, to confirm a former ACLU staff worker. They disagreed with her positions as a lawyer but they voted -- again rightly -- to confirm her.
As we have noted repeatedly, the mainstream media have pulled out all the stops to support the Democrats on the filibuster. This, though, would appear to be over the line. It is also being reported that Starr has asked for a copy of the video of his interview and been turned down by CBS

I can't say I am surprised.

Catch a Blogger Committing Journalism

On Friday evening at BlogNashville, Glenn Reynolds made the point that bloggers will likely become major journalistic sources when it comes to covering beats that the local paper and local TV stations simply lack the resources to cover. Examples would include the school board, city council, zoning board, etc. Just imagine a compulsive type (perhaps someone who already regularly attends the board meetings anyway) starting to blog about what is going on.

This type of journalism would clearly strengthen our democracy. The more reporting we can get, the better voting decisions we can make, and the more difficult it is for corruption to take place.

I want to support those trying to make the effort. If you are committing journalism on a local basis in East Tennessee or on a statewide basis, let me know. I'll link to you and try to support your efforts.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Newspaper Coverage of BlogNashville

Brittney Gilbert of the Nashville Scene has this story on BlogNashville. She includes her impressions of Dave Winer's lecture toward me.

I am putting together my thoughts on all the bloggers I met there for a later post. Many surprises. Some good, some not. Mostly good.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Birthday Surprise

Five years ago today, I got a big surprise for my birthday -- my son William arrived a month early. Because he was so early, the doctors and nurses wisked him off to the neonatal intensive care unit. He was just fine, we were told. His lungs just needed a little help because they weren't quite taking in enough oxygen, but this wasn't unusual (especially for a boy). He likely would be out of intensive care in a couple of days.

Two weeks later he was still there. It was not an easy two weeks. My wife, a worrier by nature and subject to the emotional supercharging experienced by mothers after giving birth, was able to imagine an extraordinary assortment of possible negative outcomes. William's big brother Madison, age 6 at the time, was just mad. He was absolutely furious to the point of tears at the "big stupids" running the hospital who wouldn't allow him to hold his baby brother. After all, he had already decided months ago that he would be the first person to hold the baby and now they wouldn't even let him in the room to see him! (It is good that 6 year-olds are not allowed to be king -- a lot of hospital workers would have been sent to the dungeon or worse.)

The nurses and doctors who work every day in neonatal intensive care units are really special people. Of all the babies in there, William really was in the best shape. It took his lungs a little longer than expected to adapt, but they eventually did and he has been fine ever since. Most of the other babies were not so lucky. My wife and I were at the hospital just about every waking moment. Some of the tiniest little preemies and crack babies never had a visitor while we were there. Many would have to be there for months and months. Some never make it home.

One day they brought in a new baby. His father was surprisingly calm and seemed to know everyone. A nurse explained later that his first child had been in the ICU for eleven months. They'd finally been able to take him home a few months earlier and now their second baby was there. Unbelievable.

And today William is five years old. He got a new bike for his birthday and he's all excited about his birthday party.

Just as I did for Madison when he was small, I tell William a bedtime story every night after his mother or I read to him. And William, like his brother, likes it best when I make up a new one for him. Sometimes, especially when it has been a long day, coming up with another new idea for children's story seems hard. At times like that, I remind myself that somewhere out there some father in a neonatal ICU is desperately praying for a chance to be able to tell a bedtime story some day to his tiny baby struggling to breathe. And I realize that thinking up another story is really pretty easy. In fact, it is a wonderful blessing. Just like William.

Happy birthday William! Daddy loves you.

[infinity times infinity, forever and ever, no matter what!]

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Instapundit has the last word on Winer (w/update)

Glenn chastises Dave Winer with this in response to Winer's increasingly snarky posts on the infamous discussion:
BUT DAVE, it was your behavior that was the problem, and pointing fingers at others and engaging in juvenile revenge fantasies doesn't change that. It was the only dark spot on an otherwise successful conference.

In fact, your "moderation" of the civility session was anything but. You insisted on shutting people down, and repeatedly charged off the topic under discussion to make sure they knew you disagreed with them on peripheral issues. You embarrassed yourself, people have noticed, and the gentlemanly thing to do would be to apologize, not play the victim and accuse your critics of being confederate symapthizers.

I have to admit that I was glad to read that.

UPDATE -- 5/11

Dave couldn't leave well enough alone. Glenn has more:
UPDATE: Winer emails:

The other people in the room were trying to say something to you, but you were too focused on me to hear them. You're just another Limbaugh ditto-head, I thought you were more than that. I thought you were MUCH more than that. You're just another flamer. Too fucking bad. Dave

Glenn responds:
Um, okay, Dave, though I have no idea what you're talking about here. But I thought that you were too focused on you to hear what people were saying. (My only comment during the session was to note, in response to a question from Dave, that I would have liked to hear what another audience member had been trying to say before Dave cut him off). And making what is fundamentally a question of personal deportment into a matter of political name-calling just illustrates the problem.

I don't think that this whole affair is a big deal -- though Dave's email makes it a slightly bigger deal, at least to me -- but I do think that when moderating a session like this, it's best to make the session about other participants' views.

National Ponzi Scheme

Over at Polipundit, Jayson uses the term "National Ponzi Scheme" to refer to social security. We have all heard it described as such and it is an accurate description. Why don't we all make it a habit to use the description on a regular basis.

Hugh Hewitt has the goods on the MSM and Dem deceit

Hugh Hewitt tells it like it is. The Democratic talking points on filibusters are deceitful, plain and simple. He says that the Washington Post coverage:
is absolutely silent on the radical nature of the departure from precedent that the Democratic senators launched in 2003. This omission makes the account astonishingly bad reporting, especially as it purports to provide analytical context for why the filibuster should be maintained.

Read it all.

My Picture (by John Cox)

I have decided that I need to put my photo on this site. After this weekend, I found that I was frustrated when checking the sites of bloggers I had met because I couldn't always put the right face with the name. I realize that I appreciated those folks who had their photos up.

Until I manage to get one on here, you can get an idea (more accurate than a photo?) of what I look like by checking this sketch by John Cox at Cox and Forkum. In the group of caricatures there, I am the one with the big neck, the big nose and the big ears.

You'll also note that John has used his art to capture the fact that my mouth is bigger than my brain!

Baseball Blog

I don't write on sports as much as I had thought I would, but I expect to do more. In Nashville, I had the great luck to meet Dave Pinto as we were walking from the parking garage to the first event. Turns out his blog is Baseball Musings and he really, really, really knows his stuff.

I was drafted out of college by the Pittsburgh Pirates and played in their minor league system before going to law school. As you might imagine, Dave and I had a lot to talk about. He actually managed to listen respectfully to my theory that hall of fame voters should use the career sum of standard deviations greater than the median to evaluate whether players are worthy of induction to the Hall.

Dave worked for ESPN. He studied Biochemistry at Harvard and got a masters in computer science. And he belongs to that rare group of people who may actually have spent more of their youth being nuts about baseball (reading, watching, playing Strat-o-matic) than I did!

You can find him here.

Old newspaper photos here?

I was talking with LaShawn Barber Friday evening about some of the blatantly partisan news coverage at the Tennessean over the years. She noted that bloggers would have had a field day with some of it. Which led to the thought that it might be fun to "blog" or "fisk" some of the great media bonehead efforts at partisanship from the past. My first thought was the day of "Alger Hiss Innocent" headlines which made the press look so foolish.

Anyway, I thought that I would really like to put up the photos of the blatant hit job the Tennessean did on Republican Beth Halteman back in 1992. Short version -- they had a big group photo from 1988 of the election night party the moment the TV station projected her the winner of her legislative race (her first win). The crowd has erupted with a mighty cheer. In 1992, the paper ran a closely cropped headshot of her on the cover of the paper (above the fold) a few days before election day. In the photo, she has her mouth wide open as if she were screaming at the top of her lungs. The story next to her had a headline about abortion and was written by a reporter who had been seen earlier fund-raising for her opponent. The Tennessean had taken the large group photo and enlarged, cropped and lightened it into what was run on the front page.

It was a blatant effort to try to make her look like a screaming bitch on the topic of abortion. With an election for governor and US Senate only days away, races for legislative seats don't get highlighted as the dominant story of the day on the front page. When people protested, the paper's reader advocate wrote a story "explaining" what happened which was a total coverup.

Does anyone have some ideas on how to get the photos on this blog? I know someone who might have kept old copies of the papers in a file somewhere, but if not, I doubt the Tennessean would be real cooperative.

Anyone have any experience trying to get something from a newspaper's archives which would be embarassing to the paper?

And of course, given my total lack of tech ability, how would I get them on the site?

Monday, May 09, 2005

The strong economy

Ed Cone wrote

BlogNashville wrap: Maybe we should have reconvened the faith-blogging session at the Respectful Disagreement session...alas, I had departed for home by then, but if I'd been in the room, maybe I could have asked Stan, wow, you find Dave's comment that the economy is bad to be so wrong that you are laughing at it -- could this be a moment to step back from your strong views and Dave's strong views to look for things on this very specific subject on which we can all agree? What are some numbers that back up your claim that the economy is doing great, Stan? Can Dave agree on those numbers? On what those numbers mean? But that's not the way it went, and that's a shame.

First, I want to point out that what I found ridiculous was Dave Winer's assertion that we all agree that the economy is bad. Given how strong the economy is, his assertion that it is bad seems pretty silly. However, it is ten times more ridiculous to assert that everyone agrees it is bad.

In the end, however, we weren't there to debate economics and I chose not go there. I have no doubt that, if I had launched into such a debate, Dave would have jumped in with both feet to the dismay of everyone else there.

Ed Cone raised the question of what support I would have brought to such a debate. I'll leave it with Larry Kudlow:
Core private growth in the U.S. is actually over 5 percent in the past year. Today’s personal income report shows another big gain. Year-on-year, wages and salaries are rising nearly 6 percent. Entrepreneurial proprietors’ income is up 9 percent. And the core inflation rate is only 1.7 percent. Meanwhile, profits are rising at 19 percent in the first quarter, compared to a consensus estimate of only 10 percent.

Profits drive business. And business drives the economy. Which, by the way, is strong, not weak, with historically low interest rates.

I don’t know what the media has against the American economic machine. But once again, I’m here to report that the state of our low tax, low inflation, deregulated, high productivity, and technology-streamlined economy is quite healthy. And is likely to remain so for a good long period ahead.

Bottom line -- we have enjoyed record-setting productivity gains which are the engine that drives increases in the standard of living. We have low unemployment, low inflation, and low interest rates while enjoying huge growth in personal incomes. China and Europe have been buying as much of our debt and equities as they can in order to save enough to be able to pay the massive retirement costs of their aging populations (this is the reason for the trade deficit). They buy American assets because they view the US as having the strongest economy in the world.

Hope that helps explain why everyone doesn't agree that the economy is bad.

More on Dave Winer from Classical Values

Eric recalls another Winer effort at respectful disagreement:
Speaking of disrespect, I almost forgot about an incident shortly before the November election in which Stefan Sharkansky claimed to be snubbed by Dave Winer:

Dave Winer refused to shake my hand because I'm a Republican. He also told me that he'd be more comfortable with the Iranian mullahs possessing nuclear weapons than with George W. Bush possessing nuclear weapons. Yes, he really said that.

On Disrespectful Disagreement

I had all kinds of thoughts driving home from Nashville yesterday of things to blog about today. Discussing Dave Winer was not among them. Unfortunately, Winer has written about me, Glenn has blogged that the session was contentious, and the only video is a short clip of Winer criticizing me. I feel like I need to make the point that the contentiousness that Glenn mentioned had nothing to do with me, there were a whole series of moments far angrier than my encounter with Winer, and the few accounts already on the web don't fully capture how ridiculous the whole session was.

Les Jones gives a pretty good flavor. Paul Chaney does a good job describing how we were all wondering what exactly Winer was trying to do.

This should have been a really easy discussion to lead. The room was full of opinionated bloggers who had direct experience with a lack of civility on the web. A moderator needed only to get the discussion started (Winer's stated goal of discovering shared values would have been fine) and then focus on the typical moderator responsibilities: make sure everyone gets a chance to speak up, keep the discussion from getting too far off on a tangent, and step in if things get heated between participants.

Unfortunately, we got a confused, disjointed mess that quickly ran off the track. As others have noted, he got into a ridiculous exchange with John Cox that got really heated and went on and on and on to the point that people in the room began to get really uncomfortable. At that point, someone wondered if Dave was trying to conduct some kind of encounter group. As others have noted, his treatment of Robin Burk was totally out of line. He was rude quite often. About a third of the way through, he took a deep breath, slowed everything down and mentioned we still had another hour to go. I was actually feeling sympathy for him at this point. It occurred to me that perhaps he was taking medications that he had forgotten to bring with him on this trip.

At some point, John Jay Hooker came in and made a few points. When Winer interrupted and cut him off the way he had others, Hooker (a lawyer in his 70s dressed in a 3 piece suit) was really offended. Hooker got red in the face, raised his voice and angrily demanded that he be allowed to finish his point.

Even Glenn Reynolds found it necessary to make a point (nicely) of how rude Winer was. I had been cut off by Winer in the middle of making a point about how much of an effort some of the most successful bloggers (e.g. Glenn, Power Line, etc.) make to keep things civil. After bouncing off a couple of other people, Winer turned to Reynolds and asked him what he was interested in. Glenn replied that he was interested in hearing me have a chance to make the rest of my point.

It wasn't too long after that Winer got in a snit over something and declared that he was going to sit down. The discussion continued without him and improved considerably. Glenn left shortly after Dave's "take my ball and go home" routine.

Finally, as the session wound down, Dave got back up and took over. He was speaking about the common ground we all share and decided to use, as an example, the fact that we all agree that the economy is bad. Talk about clueless! I just wanted to roll my eyes, throw up my hands in surrender and have this "train wreck" come to a quick and merciful end. Or call BS on him. Perhaps I should have just walked out. Instead, I controlled the urge and simply chuckled silently to myself while thinking that this poor fool was beyond help. After an hour and a half of childish immaturity, constant rudeness and general incompetence in leading the discussion, he capped it all off by asserting that on the economy, one of the key hot botton issues of the recent election, everyone agreed with his liberal view. It was just too much.

Winer reacted to me as if I had laughed aloud or ridiculed him or somehow made a point of making my disagreement obvious to others. That simply isn't true.

After it was over, I was amazed at how many people came up to me over the rest of the afternoon to tell me that Winer's rant was really uncalled for. One of the better known bloggers said not to worry if I had been laughing because he was laughing, too!

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Just got home from the blogger convention in Nashville. Now the family is headed down the highway to my in-laws for Mother's Day.

Lots and lots of thoughts on the new friends, new acquaintances and other interesting people I met this weekend and on some of the ideas and observations that got tossed around. But they will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow morning.

To any of them, checking this out today -- thanks for a good experience!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Why GOP Won't Push Election Reform

Power Line has a post on Michelle Malkin's analysis of the felon vote in Washington state. It seems clear that allowing illegal voting by felons was enough to change the outcome of the race.

John writes that it is obvious why Democrats do not want to reform elections to clean up this kind of fraud. He's not sure why the GOP won't push the issue.

The answer -- Democrats always scream racism. Despite the fact that this is a ridiculous claim for Democrats to make, the news media falls into line and trumpets the charge. And the GOP almost always wilts in the face of cries of racism.

Monday, May 02, 2005

A note on Robin Hood

John Tierney has a piece in the NYTimes entitled "Bush as Robin Hood". It is not a bad column for a liberal, but I want to point out one thing about Robin Hood.

Robin Hood did not steal from the rich and give to the poor. He attacked the corrupt government tax collectors and returned the tax money to the poor from whom the government had stolen it.

Big difference.

The Future of the Filibuster

The filibuster is eventually dead. Of that, there should be no doubt. Democrats revised the rule several times when it suited their political needs. Does anyone doubt that they will do so again if they retake the majority in the Senate?

This entire debate has shown everyone that the filibuster is simply a rule put in place by a majority vote. The folks at Moveon, Kos, and the Democratic Underground who now dominate the Democratic Party will not tolerate it, if the filibuster were ever allowed to defeat part of their pet legislation.

Bottom Line? GOP senators who are concerned about preserving the tradition of the filibuster are being extremely foolish. They won't have access to it when they return to the minority.