Saturday, September 10, 2005

Blogger says, "Lincoln must be weeping."

When John Byrnes, Iraq vet, blogger, and frequent op-ed contributor to the New York Post tells us "Lincoln must be weeping," he doesn't mean Lincoln's weeping over the events of 9/11.

John's talking about how he thinks Lincoln must be reacting to one of those Leftist bash-America "art" exhibits that's being hosted at Cooper Union Institute in New York City; the same institution where Lincoln delivered one of his most memorable speeches.

Read John's post to see how one more once great American educational institution is now a host for the America-bashing dredges of "the art world."

The post saddens but I think it will also fire our resolve. John gives us links so we can learn more about the exhibit and some contact information so we can express how we feel.

John's post is here.

Nonsense from Flight 93 Memorial architect

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports today:

There's a growing outcry that one element of the newly chosen Flight 93 National Memorial represents Islam and is a slap in the face to the passengers and crew members who died on the hijacked plane four years ago. ( Here’s a visual of what has people upset – JinC note)

The winning design, announced Wednesday in Washington, D.C., includes what is called the "Crescent of Embrace." That element of the project calls for two rows of red maple trees to be planted around a bowl-shaped piece of land adjacent to crash site.
Almost immediately upon seeing the design, online bloggers suggested that it is inappropriate to use a red crescent in the memorial.

A few thoughts:

According to the Post-Gazette, Paul Murdoch, the Memorial's leading architect, says of the crescent:

"You can call it all kinds of things. We can call it an arc. We can call it a circle. We can call it the edge of the bowl. The label doesn't matter to us in terms of intent.”

But an arc is a segment of a circle. Arc and circle are mutually exclusive terms among people who believe words have agreed upon meanings.

“We can call it an arc. We can call it a circle.”

Murdoch sounds like he’s been spending too much time with the Mad Hatter and Alice in Wonderland.

He’s also quoted as saying, “The label doesn't matter to us in terms of intent”

Actually, it isn't only the label that has people concerned. It’s the crescent shape and color. And those are extraordinarily important concerns, despite Murdoch’s dismissal of them.

I suspect Murdoch's dismissal is a pose. Surely he knows how important they are.

Murdoch wouldn't present the International Red Cross-Red Crescent organization with a logo design dominated by a red cross and a red circle, would he?

But for a Memorial to some of America’s heroes? Well, arcs and crescents and circles – they're all the same.

And you know what's the saddest part of it all? A lot of well-intentioned people believe Murdoch.

To learn more about the planned Memorial and how you can voice your opinions visit Michelle Malkin and Captain's Quarters' blogs.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Katrina death toll may be lower than feared

Last evening blogger Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee predicted the death toll from Katrina would be lower than feared. He based his prediction on the number and location of bodies recovered so far; and comparisons with death totals for some previous natural disasters.

It looks like Bob called it right.

The AP has just reported that during the first systematic sweep of the city, authorities in New Orleans:

found far fewer bodies than expected, suggesting that Hurricane Katrina's death toll may not be the catastrophic 10,000 feared.

"I think there's some encouragement in what we've found in the initial sweeps that some of the catastrophic deaths that some people predicted may not have occurred," said Terry Ebbert, New Orleans' homeland security chief.
The sweep was carried out by the Police Department, the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and the National Guard, and covered every part of the city reachable by land, boat or air.

"Numbers so far are relatively minor as compared to the dire projections of 10,000," Ebbert said.

That's sure very good news.

Take a look at Bob's post. It's a fine example of using current and historical data to reach a reasoned conclusion.

Hold back some Katrina money: Update

I said last Saturday Katrina relief giving then was very important, but suggested you hold back for a few weeks or months some of what you could afford to give.

That way, as you learned more about who did what and were doing what, you could target your giving to groups, sometimes small and volunteer staffed, who you thought were especially effective.

I said I wanted to target some of my money to those who:

during the worst hours in the worst places (acted) heroically to make things better. Ministers, for example, who with their congregants and others organized to feed neighbors and homeless, and (cared) as best they could for the sick.

Instapundit calls our attention to a group that acted just that way. Here's part of their story:

When their homes began to sink in Katrina's floodwaters, elders in the quarter here known as Uptown gathered their neighbors to seek refuge at the Samuel J. Green Charter School, the local toughs included.

But when the thugs started vandalizing the place - wielding guns and breaking into vending machines - Vance Anthion put them out, literally tossing them into the fetid waters. Anthion stayed awake at night after that, protecting the inhabitants of the school from looters or worse.
In the week after Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast, Anthion and others created a society that defied the local gangs, the National Guard and even the flood.

Inside the school, it was quiet, cool and clean. They converted a classroom into a dining room and, when a reporter arrived Monday, were serving a lunch of spicy red beans and rice. A table nearby overflowed with supplies: canned spaghetti, paper towels, water and Gatorade, salt, hot sauce, pepper.

At its peak last Wednesday, 40 people called the second and third floors home. The bottom floor was under water. Most of those taking up residence at the school were family, friends and neighbors of the poor, forgotten niches of this community.

Anthion and the other Uptown elders don't seem to have a formal organization to which we could send money, but if they do, they'll get some of mine.

Meanwhile, their story is both inspiring and a reminder of the countless small groups and organizations, frequently staffed by volunteers, who are doing critical, sometimes unique, recovery work by operating in ways and filling niches the large relief agencies often can't.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

N&O editor still silent on important questions

MSM reporters and editors want their questions answered promptly and "drop everything" when they want an interview. So how has one MSM journalist responded when she was asked some important questions? So far, not at all.

On August 9, Raleigh News & Observer's executive editor for news Melanie Sill blasted North Carolina officials for, as she saw it, not responding quickly and fully to her and other N&O staffers' questions and interview requests. Sill's special targets were Governor Mike Easley and his staff.

Sill detailed complaints about the governor and his staff's treatment of N&O reporters. She was particularly upset that she'd been denied an interview with the governor which Sill said she requested only "to hear (his) side of things."

Instead of an interview, Sill told readers she received a "lengthy email statement from (a staffer) in the governor’s press office saying that our reporters are free to chase down the governor at public events (as they do as often as they can) and ask him questions."

But Sill didn't provide readers a copy of the email. So I called Governor Easley's office and requested one.

I posted on August 29 linking to Sill's column and providing a full text copy of the email which I had received from the governor's office within an email.

You can read Sill's entire column here. You can read the entire email here within the post.

You'll see there's quite a difference between Sill's description and the email itself. The email's much more than "reporters are free to chase down the governor at public events"

So in my post I asked Sill the following questions; and sent her an email link.

Why didn't you link readers to the email from the governor’s office or publish it in full?

How did withholding the email text from readers serve their interests?

Since you told readers you “sought to hear Easley’s side of things,” what do you say to readers asking why you didn't make the email available to them so they could "hear" for themselves his "side of things?"

Is your reporting on the email and Governor Easley and his staff a fair example of how N&O staffers report on public officials and their staffs?

I told Sill I'd publish in full her responses to these questions as well as her responses to related questions readers might ask.

A few days later, hearing nothing back from Sill and seeing no response to the questions at her blog, I emailed her again.

I'm sending Sill a link to this post. It's my third and final effort to get Sill's responses to the questions.

If Sill again makes no response, her frequent assurances to readers that she values our questions and is eager to respond will seem shallow at best.

And the North Carolina public officials who have read Sill's column and my posts will have no choise but to conclude she's a member of the "One standard for thee; and a different one for me" congregation.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Not all liberals are equal

Following Chief Justice Rehnquist’s death, his Supreme Court colleagues and legal scholars offered judgments of him. For me, those of three well-known liberals stand out.

First, were the remarks of Professor Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, delivered on Fox News’s Hannity and Combes, a few hours after Rehnquist’s death. Among other things, Dershowitz said:

“He was a Republican justice and his vote could always be counted on by the Republicans.”


“He started his career by being a kind of Republican thug who pushed and shoved to keep African-American and Hispanic voters from voting.”

Then, from the Supreme Court came a statement by the justice generally regarded as its most liberal member, Justice John Paul Stevens:

"William Rehnquist's independent, impartial and dedicated leadership of the Supreme Court has been an inspiration to those of us privileged to serve with him -- and to the entire nation as well. Charles Evans Hughes, a great chief justice whom he particularly admired, would have been proud of the example he set as the leader of the court.

"He was truly the first among equals in discharging his judicial duties in a prompt, scholarly and fair manner. He was a good friend, maintaining his sense of humor and proportion throughout the difficult period that marked his most recent service. We shall miss him."

Also from the Supreme Court, this statement by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

"Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was the fairest, most efficient boss I have ever had. Speaking of his role in a 2002 address, he said: 'The chief justice has placed in his hands some of the tools which will enable him to be primus among the pares but his stature will depend on how he uses them.'

In his leadership of the U.S. Judiciary and his superintendence of the Supreme Court, William H. Rehnquist used to great effect the tools Congress and tradition entrusted to him.

A plain speaker without airs or affectations, the chief fostered a spirit of collegiality among the nine of us perhaps unparalleled in the court's history.

He regarded an independent judiciary as our country's hallmark and pride, and in his annual reports, he constantly urged Congress to safeguard that independence.

On the obligation key to judging, he cautioned that a judge steps out of the proper judicial role most conspicuously and dangerously when the judge flinches from a decision that is legally right because the bottom line is not the one 'the home crowd wants.'

I held him in highest regard and affection, and will miss him greatly."

Justices Stevens and Ginsburg’s judgments stand as graceful and informed tributes to an admired colleague and friend. Their statements also deserve further study for what they tell us about the inner workings of the court that is counter to what most of MSM has been telling us. But that’s for another day.

And what about Professor Dershowitz?

His remarks brought to mind words of another Harvard professor, the great social psychologist Gordon Allport : When we speak of others, we may or may not be revealing something about them, but we're always revealing something about ourselves.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Harvard's Alan Dershowitz on Dershowitz

Within a few hours of Chief Justice Rehnquist's death, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz was on Fox's Hannity and Colmes making a series of ill-informed, partisan, and down-right mean remarks about Rehnquist.

Example: Dershowitz told viewers Rehnquist "started his career by being a kind of Republican thug who pushed and shoved to keep African-American and Hispanic voters from voting."

Dershowitz's remarks have been ably refuted by James Taranto at Opinion Journal and Betsy at Betsy's Page. Their posts are well worth reading if for no other reason than as examples of how intelligent people with class respond to someone speaking as Dershowitz did.

For me, Dershowitz's remarks served one useful purpose. They reminded me to keep in mind what the great social psychologist and Harvard Professor Gordon Allport said: When we speak of others, we may or may not be revealing something about them, but we're always revealing something about ourselves.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The real reason Schumer opposes Roberts?

Among my favorite Roberts nomination op-eds is one I read today by Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Here's part of what Keating says:

New York's senior senator portrays himself as moderation's great defender. In a 2003 letter Schumer arrogantly advised Bush on how to pick a Supreme Court justice: "I start by encouraging you to use the same principles that guide me in evaluating judicial nominees. I consider three criteria: excellence, diversity and moderation."

Speaking in California last week, according to The Associated Press, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made an excellent point: "Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?"

Is it any wonder Schumer will oppose Roberts, someone he fears may turn out to be another Scalia.

None of us like people who call attention to our arrogance and ignorance.

Keating's entire op-ed is here.

Hat Tip:

Former Air Force officer offers help MSM

Teflon at wants to help MSM understand what's happened regarding Katrina and what needs to done and how.

I hope Teflon's more successful with MSM regarding Katrina than most of us have been on other matters. Teflon begins:

As a former Air Force logistics officer, let me clarify the following for the idiots in the Left Wing Media:

1. Things can get destroyed far more swiftly than they can get fixed.

2. The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.

3. You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.

4. We do not yet have teleporter nor replicator technology like you saw on "Star Trek" in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grownups actually engaged in the recovery effort today were studying engineering.

5. Getting people out of the stricken areas is the most pressing concern, since we cannot get enough supplies into it to safely sustain them.

6. Getting the airport, bridges, and roads repaired is the next priority, since the supplies and people needed to fix levees, drain the city, and repair the infrastructure cannot be transported via aircraft. You need to truck them in.

Much more follows but I'll bet Teflon lost some of his MSM readers at #4.

Anyway, be sure to read the whole thing. It's packed with infomation.

A heartening Katrina story of the underreported kind

With much of MSM presenting a Katrina "race angle" theme suggesting whites abandoned blacks, it's good to see a needed counterpoint today at Betsy's Page. She begins:

With all the focus on a racial subtext to the New Orleans disaster and Jesse Jackson exacerbating ill will by comparing the evacuees to "Africans in the hull of a slave ship.", this story is a heartening exception.

In the last week, Joseph Brant lost his apartment, walked by scores of dead in the streets, traversed pools of toxic water and endured an arduous journey to escape the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in his hometown New Orleans.

Read the rest of his story. As Betsy says, "(it's)heartening."

A lot of cross-race helping occurred during the worst hours of the storm and has continued since. MSM needs to do more reporting of that. Right now, we're getting a very distorted presentation that serves only those who would divide us for their purposes.

A question about Rev. Jesse Jackson

So Jesse Jackson is comparing the condition of evacuees from New Orleans to "Africans in the hull of a slave ship."

And to whom does Jackson, a wealthy clergyman who wears tailored suits, compare his own condition?

Hat Tip: Betsy's Page

At The New York Times: It's about wishes

However the rest of America may be feeling, you know it’s a good day at The New York Times when the paper runs this headline: Chaotic Week Leaves Bush Team on Defensive

The headline leads what The Times calls "an analysis" by reporter Todd Purdum who begins:

Perhaps not since Richard M. Nixon faced Vietnam-era tumult abroad and at home has an American president had to meet quite the combination of foreign war, domestic tribulations and political division that President Bush now confronts, from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf Coast to Capitol Hill.

Wow! In just one sentence Purdum links Nixon , Vietnam, foreign war, domestic tribulations, and political division to President Bush and events in the Persian Gulf, Gulf Coast, and on Capitol Hill.

Do we need hear anything more? Well, The Times wouldn’t want you to miss this.

The war, high gasoline prices and persistent, low-grade unease that good economic statistics have not left more Americans feeling secure had already taken a toll on Mr. Bush's job approval ratings. The wave of bipartisan criticism of his administration's handling of the hurricane may well constrict his options as he seeks a successor for Chief Justice Rehnquist. His presidency might not be on the level of peril faced by Lyndon B. Johnson, but his authority has come under challenge as never before.

So President Bush’s “authority has come under challenge as never before?” How sweet those words must sound to The Times editorial staff, which has worked ceaselessly since January 2001 to make them a reality.

And lest anyone doubt who’s responsible for the President’s difficulties, The Times has a “presidential historian” explain things to us.

"I think he's really undermined his credibility at this point, and it really saddles him with the kind of problems that Johnson and Nixon faced," said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian and Johnson biographer. "These crises are such a heavy burden, and they are so self-inflicted, except for the court vacancies, that if he is not very careful and tries to put across someone who is seen as an ultraconservative, he is going to touch off a conflagration in the Senate."

Robert Dallek, like historians Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and Doris Kearns Goodwin, is a Kennedy family “favorite” who can be counted on to provide quotes such as the ones we read above. You wouldn’t expect Purdum to also call someone like Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield, a conservative, would you?

Dallek overreached on a number of points, especially his remark about an “ultraconservative” Bush Supreme Court nominee possibly touching “off a conflagration in the Senate.”

Federal appellate court nominee Priscilla Owen, unanimously awarded the American Bar Association’s highest rating, is no ultraconservative. But that didn’t stop Sen. Tom Harkin from calling her a “whacko?” Or Sen. Ted Kennedy from grouping her with judges he called “Neanderthals?”

When did the likes of Kennedy, Boxer, Schumer, Leahy, Byrd, Clinton, Harkin, Durbin et al need an “ultraconservative” to set off a “conflagration?” They conflagrate regularly.

No liberal journalist’s current Bush hit piece would be complete without a reference to “the grieving mother.” Here’s Purdum’s:

And that was before a grieving mother named Cindy Sheehan put an unexpectedly galvanizing human face on criticism of the war in Iraq, before the hurricane's desperate victims shined a similar spotlight on the government's failings

Cindy Sheehan a “galvanizing human face on criticism of the war?” Polls show she’s had little effect on public opinion. Here, as in most of his analysis, Purdum’s engaged in wishful thinking.

But count on this: The Times and much else of MSM will do all they can to make those wishes come true.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Harvey Mansfield on C-SPAN 2 at Noon today

Harvard University government professor Harvey Mansfield is the subject of a 3 hour In-Depth Program today on C-SPAN 2 starting at Noon Eastern.

Mansfield's books on Edmund Burke, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Alexis de Tocqueville are considered classics.

Many of his former students, Bill Kristol among them, regard Mansfield as the greatest teacher they met at Harvard.

If you're interested in endangered species, this is your chance to see and hear a political conservative who survives at Harvard despite constant exposure to its rigid Leftism.

One blogger said of Mansfield: "He's flourished in an environment where even a once- hardy creature like Laurence Summers is threatened with extinction"

C-SPAN 2 starting at Noon Eastern today.