Friday, January 16, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 16, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill’s warnings during the 1930s concerning the threat a rearmed and expansionist Germany posed are well known. Less well known are his warnings concerning Germany in the aftermath of World War I.

At the Paris Peace Conference which followed the November 1918 armistice, there were many who wanted a war settlement that would identify Germany as solely responsible for the war; and punish her severely through loss of territory, restrictions on the size and types of her military forces, and very large financial reparations.

France’s Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau, was their most influential leader. In June 1919 he told conference delegates they would “be false to those who have given their all to save the freedom of the world if they consent to treat this war on any other basis than as a crime against humanity.”

Clemenceau demanded Germany “ make reparation to the very uttermost of her power.”

Churchill believed a harsh peace would leave Germany economically weak, politically unstable, and eager to throw off the terms of a treaty it viewed as a

On May 20, 1919, he wrote to Prime Minister Lloyd George who was then attending the conference:

In my opinion it is of profound importance to reach a settlement with the present German Government, and to reach it as speedily as possible. …

The newspapers and public opinion at home, so far as it is vocal, claims the enforcement of the most extreme terms upon the vanquished enemy. …

Disaster of the most terrible kind lies on that road, and I solemnly warn the Government of the peril of proceeding along it. …

Now is the time, and it may be the only time, to reap the fruits of victory. “Agree with thine adversary whilst thou art in the way with him”

Everything shows that the present German Government is sincerely desirous of making a beaten peace and preserving an orderly community which will carry out its agreement.

It seems to me quite natural that they should put forward a series of counter propositions, and we ought to take these up … with patience and goodwill and endeavour to split the outstanding differences.

In this way we shall get a genuine German acceptance of a defeated peace and not be dawn into new dangers measureless in their character.
During the 1920s Churchill worked to moderate some of the terms of the Versailles Treaty. He later saw his worst fears concerning an unstable and resentful Germany fulfilled as Hitler and the Nazis took advantage of those circumstances to seize power and implement their horrific policies and practices.

Now to the weekend. I hope yours are good, safe and warm.

Clemenceau’s speech can be found here. (scroll down about a third of the way)

Excerpts from Churchill’s letter and the circumstances in which he wrote it can be found in Martin Gilbert’s
Winston S. Churchill: The Stricken World. (pgs. 895-897)

Two question for the N&O’s Saunders & Durham DA Cline

In Spring 2006 Raleigh News & Observer news columnist Barry Saunders wrote a series of columns hyping Crystal Mangum’s hoax, trashing the Duke lacrosse players and cheer leading for what many people recognized even then was a frame-up attempt led my now disbarred Mike Nifong.

Saunders even wrote a column urging the Durham city council to appoint Ron Hodge, the man who as deputy chief led the DPD Duke lacrosse “investigation,” the new police chief.

That was after we learned DPD spokespersons had lied to the public, incriminating evidence had been manufactured, and exculpatory evidence withheld.

When the students subsequently sued Durham city, DPD and others, Saunders said all each should receive was a fish sandwich, a pop drink and a one-way bus ticket out of town.

Although he never used his column to condemn those who waved the CASTRATE banner, shouted death threats at one of the innocent men in a courtroom or circulated Vigilante posters, Saunders sure wrote a lot about the Duke lacrosse case.

But now, when there’s a good chance that with the discovery and trial portions of the players suits looming, we'll learn much more about the gross injustices, including very likely crimes committed by some involved in it, Saunders wants to move on and forget about the injustices. so does Durham’s new DA, Tracey Cline, who served as a top ADA to Nifong during the frame-up attempt and its cover-up.

In a recent column Saunders offered readers an admiring portrait of Cline. Here’s the last part of it:

Cline didn't say what she would've done differently, but she insists that neither Durham County nor she is obsessed with the case that focused international attention on the job she now holds.

"The bottom line is, we all know [that] that one case out of 70,000 damaged Durham. Not just the DA's office, but all of the citizens, too. It wounded us, but it's a wound that will heal. When I go out and speak to residents, not one of them has ever asked me about" it.

"They want to know," she said, "how we're going to deal with the gangs, the habitual offenders and the break-ins" plaguing the city.

"I want to ensure the criminal justice system works for everybody," she said. "The first thing I need to do is make sure I have a team of prosecutors who share the same goals I have. ... I want -- and have -- prosecutors who're committed to justice every day, not just when the cameras are rolling. I don't want to just be a prosecutor who sends people to jail."

We have relegated the case to the trash cans of our memory, but not everyone has -- as I found out when visiting my dad in Washington, D.C., last month. His retiring next-door neighbor came over to show off a farewell card he'd received that day -- his last -- as a U.S. Department of Defense attorney. The card was signed by dozens of his employees and the dude had that mellow, unflappable glow you get from knowing you'll never have to punch another clock.

This soft-spoken, gentle man became enraged -- to put it mildly -- as he told what he'd like to do to Nifong.

He was on such a roll that I didn't bother telling him that the new DA is named Cline, not Nifong. If you doubt it, just ask anybody in Durham.


I’ve two questions for Saunders and Cline:

1) The testimony under oath of the case’s two principal DPD investigating officers, Sgt. Gottlieb and Inv. Himan, directly contradicts DA Cline’s public statements regarding her role in securing of the NTO.

See Who owns that “toxic” NTO?(1/13/08), NTO battle - Durham DA v. Police (1/17/08),and Durham ADA changes NTO story.(2/2/08)

Doesn’t the Durham public need to know who’s lying?

2) In a few days we’ll honor the life and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King. Do you agree he’d want us to uncover the facts of the frame-up attempt and the cover-up its spawned instead of dismissing the victims with “a fish sandwich, a Yoo-hoo and a one-way Greyhound bus ticket?”

Minneapolis Star Tribune declares bankruptcy reported early this morning - - -

The Star Tribune, saddled with high debt and a sharp decline in print advertising, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Thursday night.

Minnesota's largest newspaper will try to use bankruptcy to restructure its debt and lower its labor costs.

Chris Harte, the paper's publisher, said the filing would have no impact on home delivery, advertising, newsgathering or any other aspects of the paper's operations.

"We intend to use the Chapter 11 process to make this great Twin Cities institution stronger, leaner and more efficient so that it is well positioned to benefit when economic conditions begin to improve," Harte said in a statement. …

The Star Tribune, with Sunday circulation of 552,000, is the 10th-largest Sunday newspaper in the U.S. Its daily circulation of 334,000 makes it the 15th-largest daily based on circulation. The paper's website,, averaged 76 million page views per month during the past six months, placing it among the top 10 newspaper websites in the nation. …

The entire Strib story’s here.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air comments:

[Management has] have lost the faith of advertisers, and it’s not hard to see why. They’ve managed to rid themselves of most of their best assets, with the exception of James Lileks, while keeping the worst of their lineup: Nick Coleman, Lori Sturdevant, and the entire editorial board.

The reporting work they do is fine, but the editorial direction is somewhat to the left of Lenin most days, and it’s become a joke.

Who wants to advertise in such a newspaper? Apparently, a lot fewer people than ever before.
On the comment thread a Hot Air reader says what millions of Americans think - - -

I can’t say that I’m sad to see any of these papers go, but the situation as a whole is kind of sad. I’d love to pay for a daily paper that I could trust to remain objective.

It’s a convenient format that allows the reader to keep track of what’s happening locally (I rarely get to watch the local news).

But why pay for opinion journalism when I can get it online for free?

Morrissey's entire post and its thread are here.


My comments:

Re: the commenter’s question beginning “But why pay …..?”

Of course the commenter’s right.

Code Pink, People for the American Way, NOW, and other liberal/leftist organizations all have Web sites which regularly distribute “the news” in the form of press releases, position statements and “research findings.”

There’s no direct charge for any of it, although Lord knows we all pay for the social and economic damage “the news” from such groups does when it gets hyped in news columns, editorial pages, TV newscasts and on cable programs.

Mike Williams, who gave me the heads up on the Strib’s bankruptcy, asks - - -

Can The Raleigh N&O's [parent McClatchy Company] be far behind?

Stay tuned.

US Airways Fl. 1549

The LA Times has the best print story I’ve seen.

It’s accompanied by graphics and a side bar linking to other news orgs’ stories (check the NY Post for excellent photos) and related Web sites such as one with information from the manufacturer of Fl 1549, an Airbus A 320.

One caution: The side bar link to “live video” at MSNBC of the crash just takes you to CNN political reporting. I couldn’t find any of the promised “live video.”

If you know where live video of the plane in the air and landing is available, please give me a heads up.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 15, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill’s first wartime visit to the United States occurred shortly after Pearl Harbor. His second visit occurred in June, 1942.

On both occasions Churchill stayed at the White House, to which during his second visit an airmail letter was delivered addressed simply:

Winston Churchill
White House
Washington, D. C.
The envelope was postmarked Denver, Colo., and dated June 21, 1942.

Inside was a single sheet of plain white stationery on which was typed in capital letters:
Churchill returned to England on June 25.

I can't help thinking that if today's White House press corps had been around in 1942 and learned of the letter, the next day we'd have heard in the WH press briefing room:
"Do you really expect us to believe the Prime Minister's departure had nothing to do with the letter from Denver the New York Times made public yesterday?"
The envelope and letter are in the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, U. K. You can view photo copies here. (scroll down)

Giving thanks for the survival of all on Flight 1549

The first reports - - -

“A US Airways pilot ditched his disabled jetliner into the frigid Hudson River on Thursday afternoon after a collision with a flock of birds apparently knocked out both engines, but officials said rescuers pulled all 155 people on board into boats as the plane sank.”

All survived, aided by a heroic cockpit and cabin crew and extraordinary rescue work by the Coast Guard, NYPD, NYFD, the Circle Line and ferry crew, and civilians.

The NY Daily News is running a continuous account of events here.

I’ll say more tomorrow.

Tonight I'm saying what you're saying: It's a miracle. Thank God.

Iraq Questions for Caroline Kennedy

When asked why she wants to be appointed a U. S. Senator, Ms. Caroline Kennedy says because she wants “to serve the people of New York.”

We read recently the heir to a fictional Camelot had “given permission for friends” to talk to the MSM about her.

MSM reported her friends "disclosed," among other things, that Kennedy has a real “interest in public issues,” sometimes rides the subway, and, given a choice between watching a McCain-Obama debate in a quiet room or a nearby one in which people were mostly chatting, Kennedy chose to watch in the quite room.

Kennedy’s friends didn’t "disclose" whether she really likes kittens, puff pastry and cotton candy. We’re all left to wonder.

We’re also left to wonder about her recent and current stands on some of the most vital public issues of our times. Iraq, for instance.

Back in February 2006 the speaker at a John Locke Foundation dinner warned:

… [S]iren voices [can] be heard on Capitol Hill, raising the cry: “Bring the Boys home.”

I tell you: Nothing could be more disastrous than if, at this juncture, the United States were to cut and run.

It would, at a stroke, undermine those forces of moderation we are seeking to establish in power, betray our troops as they fight a difficult, but necessary, battle, and break faith with those of our soldiers who have sacrificed their lives to establish a free Iraq.

Gravest of all, we should be handing a victory of gigantic proportions to our sworn enemies. …
Did Caroline Kennedy three years ago embrace those words?

Or did she agree with Dem Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who said the Iraq War “is lost?”

Did Kennedy support the surge?

Or, like Harry Reid and most Senate Dems including her Uncle Teddy, did she believe it would fail?

Kennedy and her friends in and out of MSM have given us so much trivia and no substantial discussion of her public policy stands and proposals. Doesn't she have any?

Getting back to the speaker at the John Locke dinner, he was Winston S. Churchill, namesake and grandson of Britain’s greatest Prime Minister.

You can read more about Churchill’s speech at the John Locke Foundation dinner here.

The foundation is based in Raleigh, NC. It’s Web site's here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 14, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: I'm sorry I missed posting yesterday. It was a very busy day.

I hope the following "oldie" from 2006 leaves you smiling.


During WW II Churchill frequently worked 18 or more hours a day. And he sometimes went days with just a few hours sleep per night. His aides were often forced to keep those same hours, much to their displeasure.

Detective- Inspector Walter Thompson, for many years Churchill’s principal bodyguard, recalled the time in June, 1940 when Churchill and his party had just arrived back in England after two exhausting days in France trying to persuade the French not to agree to an armistice with the Germans.

The party had just landed at Hendon airport near London when Churchill announced, “We will have a Cabinet meeting at 10 p. m.”

The Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, was dismayed. “Surely not tonight, Winston,” Halifax pleaded. “We have had a long day; it will make such a late night.”

Churchill paused a moment before saying, “All right, we’ll make it 9:30 instead.”
Tom Hickman,
Churchill's Bodyguard: The Authorized Biography of Walter H. Thompson. (pgs. 117-118)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Commenters on Al Gore, Global Warming, Weather, etc.

There's a lot of smart commentary on the thread of Daily Tech Has Ice News For Al Gore, His Nobel Committee, the BBC.

Here's the money graf from Daily Tech’s report:

Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close.
DT's report's drawn comments I’m posting here in part or whole in italics with my comments interspersed in plain.

Tarheel Hawkeye said - - -

There have been climate swings throughout the history of this globe. The most recent warming period, known as the Medieval Warming (800-1300 Anno Domini), took place well before coal-fired generators or GMC SUVs.

For a "scientist" to claim that climate change is anthropogenic and that carbon is evil defies logic and proves what many real scientists have concluded: Al Gore's ideas have evolved into a cult. A good source of hard fact is the book "Unstoppable Global Warming."

I was disappointed but not surprised when McCain bought into the global warming myth. I guess he got a mental hernia by bending over backwards to prove he's bipartisan.

McCain did do a lot of bending over backwards, but his Dem and media "friends and admirers" always stayed on course.

So when "Mac" attacked Republicans, they praised him; when he made a few qualified criticisms of then Senator Obama or looked like he had a chance of getting elected, they savaged him. Example: The NYT’s bogus story claiming he’d had an affair with a lobbyist Vicki Iseman who’s now suing the Times.

Anon @ 1:03 - - -

An increase in sea ice? How much you want to bet that this will be presented as more proof of man made global warming, or as it is now called "climate change"?

I'll bet not a penny because you’re right.

When I was a kid, we recognized there were changes in climatic conditions, from hour to hour, day to day, year to year and so forth. We called it weather.

Yes, weather. I remember when people used to read about it in the Bible. There were floods, droughts, etc.; but no SUV’s or coal-fired plants.

And no Al Gore or “settled science,” either.

Grafton had two observations:

1.) This type of report will get very little,if any, play in the MSM. The average man on the street heard all about the polar icecaps melting but will hear next to nothing about their re-freezing.

You're so right. And most people won’t know what they’re missing

2.) This global warming nonsense is the type of thinking we as a society have when we replace God with man as the center of the universe. It's just like the middle ages when everyone thought the universe revolved around the earth or the earth was flat. To believe mankind's actions are paramount to the temperature of the planet is just as ludicrous.

One more observation: I'm constantly amazed by people who confuse and combine global warming and pollution issues.

There are sure a lot of those confused people. I think they’re the people Lincoln had in mind when he said, among other things, you could “confuse some of the people all the time.”

BTW – Have you noticed almost all those confused people are Dems, liberals, and PC’ers?

Tarheel Hawkeye reports - - -

In surfing around the 'net to see reactions from the Chicken Little Brigade concerning the sea ice revelations, I found a pretty uniform response.

The panic-mongers are saying the record cold that has frozen much of the globe this winter is (are you ready) all caused by (here's the punch line) GLOBAL WARMING.

Yup, that's what the Al Gorists are now saying. The record cold spell is actually caused by global warming which is caused by you and me burning coal and driving our cars. We're killing the polar bears and the sea level is rising. Tigers and lions, and bears, oh my.

If it weren't so pathetic it would be comical.

It sure would be.

Thanks to the commenters who put together a very informed, reasoned and appropriately critical thread.

It puts in sharp relief the ideologically-based Goreish "climate change" blathering we get from so many MSM news orgs.


Seigel’s Orlando Sentinel Op-Ed Smeared Laxers

Mike Seigel is a professor of law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and editor of an about to be released book – Race to Injustice: Lessons Learned from the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. It's preface and table of contents can be viewed here.

On April 17, 2007, a week after the NC attorney general said there never was any credible evidence of a rape and declared the three Duke students indicted in a malicious frame-up attempt innocent, Seigel published an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel.

Seigel said some important things about alcohol abuse and other repugnant and harmful behaviors by college students, including ones that reach the criminal level. He also said Duke and other college administrators need to do more to reduce, if not eliminate, those unacceptable behaviors.

I commend him for all of that.

But he also singled out the Duke lacrosse players as the poster students for the behaviors he was condemning. In doing that, he was sloppy with facts and smeared the students on the lacrosse team.

Seigel said:

By itself, excessive and underage drinking is bad enough — but it is much worse because of its consequences. According to Duke, drunkenness is a factor in incidents involving assault, property damage, injury and unwanted sex.

The behavior of the Duke lacrosse team provides ample evidence to support this claim. (emphasis added)

Keeping in mind that the team was composed of about 45 players, 22 team members were disciplined in 2003-04 for misconduct involving underage possession of alcohol, public urination, providing false identification, and violation of the school’s noise policy. In 2005-06, 18 players were cited, with the offenses this time including open containers of alcohol in a car, destruction of property and holding a drinking party in a dorm room. ....

Look what Seigel did there.

He first cited drunkenness as “a factor in incidents involving assault, property damage, injury and unwanted sex.” That's reasonable. But then Seigel asserted, “The behavior of the Duke lacrosse team provides ample evidence to support this claim.”

That's smearing the students on the lacrosse team.

None of the lacrosse players’ behaviors Seigel listed involved assault, injury or unwanted sex; and only one involved property destruction.

In Spring ’06 the now disbarred Mike Nifong, certain Duke faculty, the Raleigh N&O and the Durham H-S all smeared the lacrosse players.

But Seigel smeared the students on the lacrosse team just a week after the NC attorney general had irrefutably shown them to be the victims of a malicious public trashing by many, and a vicious frame-up attempt led by a man the attorney general called a “rogue” prosecutor.

You’d think a law professor would know better and do better.

Let's hope Seigel's op-ed is not a foretaste of what the book he's just edited is like.

A person extremely familiar with Duke and the lacrosse case sent me offline a response to Seigel’s slimming. It follows in full:

Michael Seigel's article misused statistics to defame the lacrosse players.

I had previously reviewed student misconduct statistics ( 2005-2006 academic year ) prepared by Duke's Judicial Affairs dept. and presented on their website. The following information is relevant:

1) In the six most recent academic years ending in 2006, there were a total of 377 incidents of academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) by all students. None were lacrosse players.

2) In the six years ending in 2006, there were a total of 46 incidents of physical abuse, fighting and endangerment. None were lacrosse players.

3) In the six years ending in 2006, there were 20 incidents of sexual misconduct. None were lacrosse players.

4) In the six years ending in 2006 there were 96 incidents of drug related misconduct .Only one was a lacrosse player (smoking marijuana in his room in 2001) and he was not a member of the 2006 team.

5) In the three years ending in 2006 (not sure earlier years are available) there were 171 alcohol related medical calls to DUPD/EMS. None were lacrosse players. It's likely that these are the most serious, and dangerous alcohol related violations.

6) About 60% of the lacrosse players, based on the 2006 team, had GPA's of 3.0 or higher.

7) The lacrosse players have a 100% graduation rate.

8) Per the Coleman Report, the lacrosse players" conduct has not involved fighting, sexual assault or harassment, or racist behavior."..." By all accounts, the lacrosse players are a cohesive, hard working, disciplined and respectful athletic team."

The great majority of the lacrosse players' incidents of misconduct involved underage and/ or public drinking; and not involved assault, injury or unwanted sex.

Their behavior, while in certain instances lamentable and deserving of criticism, was typical of a high percentage of college students.

Seigel needs to explain why, in talking about the lacrosse players, he ignored the evidence of their outstanding scholarship, academic honesty and other praiseworthy achievements as listed above and as reported by many op-ed writers and bloggers.

It was all available to him in April 2007.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Churchill Series - Jan. 12, 2009

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

The Duel, 10 May – 31 July 1940: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler historian John Lukacs says:

In June 1940, a few days before Paris fell, Premier Reynaud broadcast to the French people: if Hitler wins this war, “it would be the Middle Ages again, but not illuminated by the mercy of Christ.”

A few days later, on 18 June, in his “finest hour” speech Churchill evoked the prospect, not of a return to the Middle Ages, but of a lurch into a New Dark Age.

If Hitler wins and we fall, he said, “then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a New Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the light of perverted science.”

That was a more precise statement than Reynaud’s - and perhaps more apposite now, fifty years later, when within and without the great conurbations of the Western world many of the signs and symptoms of a New Dark age are rising. (p. 222)
When Lukacs wrote that in 1990 the Cold War had just been declared over, and most people in the West were talking about how to spend “the peace dividend.”

I doubt Churchill would have been one them. I think like Lukacs, he'd have warned the West. Today, he’d be shouting that warning.

Daily Tech Has Ice News For Al Gore, His Nobel Committee, the BBC

and all the other “man-made global warming is a ‘settled science’” ideologues.

DT’s Headline: Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979

Its report begins - - -

Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close.

Ice levels had been tracking lower throughout much of 2008, but rapidly recovered in the last quarter. In fact, the rate of increase from September onward is the fastest rate of change on record, either upwards or downwards.

The data is being reported by the University of Illinois's Arctic Climate Research Center, and is derived from satellite observations of the Northern and Southern hemisphere polar regions.

Each year, millions of square kilometers of sea ice melt and refreeze. However, the mean ice anomaly -- defined as the seasonally-adjusted difference between the current value and the average from 1979-2000, varies much more slowly. That anomaly now stands at just under zero, a value identical to one recorded at the end of 1979, the year satellite record-keeping began.

Sea ice is floating and, unlike the massive ice sheets anchored to bedrock in Greenland and Antarctica, doesn't affect ocean levels. However, due to its transient nature, sea ice responds much faster to changes in temperature or precipitation and is therefore a useful barometer of changing conditions.

Earlier this year, predictions were rife that the North Pole could melt entirely in 2008. Instead, the Arctic ice saw a substantial recovery.

Bill Chapman, a researcher with the UIUC's Arctic Center, tells DailyTech this was due in part to colder temperatures in the region. Chapman says wind patterns have also been weaker this year. Strong winds can slow ice formation as well as forcing ice into warmer waters where it will melt. …

The rest of DT’s report is here.


My Comments:

I think DT’s report will, to use a bit of Southern colloquialism, “make them global warmin’ folks hot.”

DT’s report certainly supports those who've been telling us Al Gore’s “School of Warming Science” has a vacuous and overbearing “faculty” and press corps.

What do you say?

And In A Recession, No Less

Britain’s Daily Telegraph headlines - - -

Student auctions off virginity for offers of more than £2.5 million

A student who is auctioning her virginity to pay for a masters degree in Family and Marriage therapy has seen bidding hit £2.5million ($3.7m).

The Telegraph’s story begins - - -

Natalie Dylan, 22, claims her offer of a one-night stand has persuaded 10,000 men to bid for sex with her.

Last September, when her auction came to light, she had received bids up to £162,000 ($243,000) but since then interest in her has rocketed.

The student who has a degree in Women's Studies insisted she was not demeaning herself.

Miss Dylan, from San Diego, California, USA, said she was persuaded to offer herself to the highest bidder after her sister Avia, 23, paid for her own degree after working as a prostitute for three weeks. …

Miss Dylan said she did not think it was particularly significant to be willing to sell your virginity and insisted that she was happy to undergo medical tests for any doubters. ...


The above and the rest of the Telegraph’s story is here.

Hat tip: Drudge Report

Press access to Gaza questions

For weeks now we’ve seen the headlines and read the stories:

Media protest Israel's Gaza press ban (McClatchy, Nov. 19)

Israel Puts Media Clamp on Gaza (NY Times, Jan. 6)
On Dec. 29 the Foreign Press Association in Israel released a public letter which follows in full:

Dear Reader,

In an unprecedented restriction of press freedom The Gaza Strip has been closed to the foreign press.

As a result the world’s media is unable to accurately report on events inside Gaza at this critical time.

Despite our protests the Israelis authorities have refused to let journalists in.

Our organization has over 400 members representing the world’s leading newspapers, tv and radio stations. It has been defending the interests of press freedom in Israel and the Palestinian Territories for over 50 years.

Never before have journalists been prevented from doing their work in this way. We believe it is vital that journalists be allowed to find out for themselves what is going on in Gaza.

Israel controls access to Gaza.

Israel must allow professional journalists access to this important story.

Yours Faithfully

The Foreign Press Association in Israel

December 29th, 2008.

Top executives of many of the world's largest news organizations including the BBC, Reuters, and the NY Times have sent a protest letter(scroll down)to Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Major news organizations are saying it loud and long:
The Jews are denying the press access to Gaza so we can't cover this vital story.

But wait a minute. Gaza has a border with Egypt.

And this Jan. 11 report by IRIN, a self-described “UN humanitarian news and information service,” says the Egyptian controlled border crossing at Rafah is open 3 hours every day.

So why isn’t the foreign press entering Gaza via Egypt?

The lengthy Jan. 6 NYT story I linked to above complains about Israel closing the border. But it says nothing about crossing access from Egypt.

That silence is typical of almost all MSM stories I’ve read reporting on news organizations' difficulties gaining access to Gaza.

However, in the fifth paragraph of a Dec. 30 Guardian story reporting on Israel’s actions I did find one sentence concerning Egypt and press access to Gaza:
Egypt has largely kept its one crossing into Gaza, at Rafah, closed except for in rare medical emergencies, and it too does not allow journalists to cross.

Why do major news organizations like the BBC, Reuters and the NYT say so little about the Egyptians denying them access to Gaza?

Why, in almost all their stories, do they blame only the Jews for restricting foreign press access to Gaza?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I Think ABC & Stephanopoulos Learned A Lesson

Back in April during the primaries ABC sponsored a debate involving then Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

ABC’s Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos dared to ask Obama questions he should have answered long before. Questions, for instance, about his relationships with the racist, anti-America Jeremiah Wright and the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers.

Team Obama and its MSM flacks gasped; then went into attack mode. The Washington Post’s Tom Shales was typical of the “Anything for Obama” flacks. He called Stephanopoulos’ questions “shoddy” and “despicable.” Huffington Post fired with “The Gotcha Debate.”

The attacks went on for days.

I thought about them as I’m sure ABC and Stephanopoulos did as they prepared for Stephanopoulos’ one-on-one This Week interview with the President-elect.

In his blog post yesterday plugging the interview to be broadcast today, Stephanopoulos included excerpts.

Here’s some of the excerpts. I'm sure you’ll spot the big softball question among them (
the transcript shows two questions but they meld for purposes of interviewing) - -

Obama: "Our challenge is going to be identifying what works and putting more money into that, eliminating things that don’t work, and making things that we have more efficient. But I’m not suggesting, George, I want to be realistic here, not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace we had hoped," Obama told me in his first interview since arriving back in Washington, DC as president-elect.

Stephanopoulos: I asked the president-elect, "At the end of the day, are you really talking about over the course of your presidency some kind of grand bargain? That you have tax reform, healthcare reform, entitlement reform including Social Security and Medicare, where everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good?"

"Yes," Obama said.

Sure you spotted that softball. So did Obama. Who could miss it?

If they ever build a Softball Question Hall of Fame, Stephanopoulas’ question deserves a place in the main rotunda.

Stephanopoulas ends his post gushing about the “big treat” of his day:

The big treat of the day was having Malia and Sasha Obama tour visit our This Week control room. The girls got on my executive producer's headset and gave me the question they most want their Dad to answer. Find out what it was and how Obama answered tomorrow on "This Week."
Whatever it was, it couldn't have been a bigger softball than Stephanopoulos tossed their Dad.

Did ABC and Stephanopoulas learned a lesson last April? I think so. What about you?

I posted on the April debate:
Obama bungled Ayers question (4/18/08)

National Review’s White House Correspondent Byron York was one of the few in the press corps who provided informed, balanced coverage of the debate, especially the portion dealing wih Obama’s response to the Ayers’ question. See here.

N&O’s big delisting story ignores McClatchy

The liberal/leftist Raleigh News & Observer is owned by the financially struggling McClatchy Company (stock –MNI- is down from a five year high in the mid-70s to about $1.)

Saturday's major story on the N&O's Business page begins:

At least two Triangle companies are being delisted from major stock exchanges, and several more could follow if their fortunes don't improve -- moves with negative ramifications for companies and investors.

Analysts tend to shun publicly traded companies that are delisted for failing to meet minimum exchange requirements, reducing the flow of useful information to investors. There are also fewer investors willing to buy the stock, which can end up depressing prices.

For the companies, meanwhile, being delisted makes it more difficult to raise money by selling stock. It's also a blow to their prestige ….

Shares of companies delisted by stock exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq move to over-the-counter services such as the OTC Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets' Electronic Quotation Service. ….

The entire N&O story’s here.


My comments:

The N&O story ignores McClatchy which is struggling to avoid delisting.

So why doesn’t the N&O mention McClatchy?

I think the N&O editors would say because the story focuses on “Triangle companies” and McClatchy is a national company.

But that doesn’t wash.

The story reports on R. H. Donnelley’s troubles and at the company’s website we learn it employees over 4,000 people in 28 states. It also claims to have strong online presences targeting many regions of the country.

If you read McClatchy Watch you know the McClatchy's been very reluctant to discuss openly its disastrous financial situation with not only delisting a real possibility but its $2 bil in bonds rated “junk.”

I think that’s why the N&O today didn’t include McClatchy in its delisting story. But it sure belonged there. Most people who work at the N&O can tell you that if they trust you not to quote them.

Speaking of McClatchy Watch – it’s a finalist for Weblog Award 2008 Best Up and Coming Blog.

You can vote for McClatchy Watch every 24 hours and I do here.

McClatchy Watch is a fine blog. If you haven’t been there, take a visit, and then please consider giving McClatchy Watch your vote here.