Saturday, February 25, 2006

Support Denmark rally in Greensboro, NC

Thanks to Greensboro, NC blogger Sam Wharton’s organization, that city had a Support Denmark rally today.

You can read about it and see pictures at his blog and at David Wharton’s, David Boyd’s, Glenn’s and Ed Cone’s blogs. They link to other blogs involved.

Sam reports people passing by gave lots of smiles, waves, and honks.

Hats off to the rally participants.

Go Denmark!

To Congresswoman Sue “HELL NO” Myrick

Dear Congresswoman Myrick:

Concerning your February 22 letter to President Bush:

Dear Mr. President:

In regard to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO – but HELL NO.


Sue Myrick
Member of Congress
Your letter has certainly gotten you a lot of attention.

On Feb. 23 The Raleigh News & Observer ran a photo copy across most of its front page and above the fold. I can’t remember the last time The N&O did that with a Member of Congress’ letter.

You are wrong about “selling American ports.” No ports will be sold and its nonsensical to think they could be.

Although The N&O didn’t mention your error, I assumed that by today, Feb. 25, you would have learned of it. But at 3:30 PM Eastern the main page of your Internet site, U. S. Representative Sue Myrick, still displays the letter with its major error.

Why is that? If you know of your error, shouldn’t there be something at your site informing constituents and others of it?

Have you asked your staff to keep a count of people who think your “not just NO – but HELL NO” to the President of the United States was rude? If so, please count me in.

I left two voicemails Friday with your Communications Director, Andy Polk, telling him I was planning to post on your letter. I’ve not heard back from him.

I hope you respond to the questions in this email which I’m posting at my blog.

I will post in full your response.



Will students change Harvard?

In a WSJ op-ed Harvard Professor Ruth R. Wisse says needed change may finally come to Harvard (excerpts):

But student response to (Summers') ouster suggests another long-term outcome. Although the activists of yesteryear may have found a temporary stronghold in the universities, a new generation of students has had its fill of radicalism.

Sobered by the heavy financial burdens most of their families have to bear for their schooling, they want an education solid enough to warrant the investment. Chastened by the fall-out of the sexual revolution and the breakdown of the family, they are wary of human experiments that destabilize society even further.

Alert to the war that is being waged against America, they feel responsible for its defense even when they may not agree with the policies of the current administration.

If the students I have come to know at Harvard are at all representative, a new moral seriousness prevails on campus, one that has yet to affect the faculty members because it does not yet know how to marshal its powers.

As long as (the Faculty of Arts & Sciences) went about its business as usual, no one may have noticed its skewed priorities, but its political victory (in bringing down Summers) sets its actions and inaction in bolder relief.

The same professors who fought so hard to oust their president did not once since the events of 9/11 consider whether they owed any responsibilities to a country at war.

FAS continued to ban ROTC from campus on the excuse that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy discriminates against homosexuals. Many students realize that this is tantamount to letting others do the fighting while advertising their moral superiority.

Several years ago, the Undergraduate Council voted to give ROTC its approval. Although the faculty ignored this vote and simply waited for that cohort to graduate, other students will sooner or later stand up for their contemporaries who want to serve their country.
I hope Wisse is right about change at Harvard being on the way.

But the students will need help from other elements of the university, including faculty who are not rigid, self-indulgent and abusive ideologues of the kind who brought down Summers.

For too long fair-minded faculty have been silent when they should have been speaking out.

Consider what happened in March, 2002 when Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe wrote a bullying and factually incorrect letter to the editor of the Harvard student newspaper castigating the editors for saying historian Doris Kearns Goodwin should resign as a University Overseer because she had plagiarize and arranged a large payment to the author she plagiarized in exchange for the author's silence.

A Crimson editor later told me not a single faculty member wrote to the paper supporting what the students had written or taking Tribe to task for his bullying or correcting his many errors of fact.

And friends at Harvard say they can't recall any effort by FAS to pass a motion saying Goodwin should resign as an Overseer. Yet a few years later, that same faculty voted “no confidence” in Summers.

Talk about bias and double standards!

We should pay more attention to what's happening at Harvard. It's a direction-setter for the Academy. What happens there in the next few years will tell us a lot about where American higher education is headed.

More on all of this tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Churchill Series - Feb. 24, 2006

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

David Hurwitz writes (excerpts):

Appointed Colonial Secretary in February 1921, Churchill had long supported a Jewish state. His early experience came from prominent Jewish leaders in Manchester, one of his early constituencies.
In a letter written in 1908, he expressed "full sympathy...with their aspirations of establishing a Jewish homeland....The restoration to them of a centre of true racial and political integrity would be a tremendous event in the history of the world....Jerusalem must be the only goal."
Churchill played an important part in determining the boundaries of Palestine. A natural Arab-Jewish boundary was the River Jordan, with Jewish settlements permitted west of the river and Arabs to the east.
Militant Arabs argued that Jewish immigration should be stopped and support for a national home for the Jews should be ended.

Churchill flatly refused, stating that it was not within his authority as Colonial Secretary, and that he would not block Jewish settlements in the area even if he could. He insisted that Arabs "...must live on terms of cordiality and fraternity."
Fifteen years from now, in 2021, it will be a century since Churchill tried to settle differences and assure peace in Palestine between Arabs and Jews.

David Hurwitz, "Churchill and Palestine," Judaism, 44(1): 3-32.

Harvard's Laurence Tribe writes a letter to the editor.

In March, 2002, Harvard Law School Professor Laurence H. Tribe, who represented Vice President Al Gore before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore and who's regarded as a likely Supreme Court nominee if the Democrats recapture the White House in '08, wrote a letter to the The Crimson, Harvard's student newspaper,

Tribe was responding to The Crimson's call for historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to resign from Harvard's Board of Overseers, the university's second highest governing body.

The Crimson's resignation call
came following disclosures Goodwin had plagiarized from several sources for her best selling history, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys.

The Crimson noted Harvard's student handbook called for expulsion of a student who'd engaged in plagiarism.

Tribe meant his letter to be a defense of Goodwin and a castigation and dismissal of The Crimson editors.

But what it really does, albeit unintentionally, is reveal the disgraceful manner in which a faculty member treated facts and students.

And the faculty's silence following publication of Tribe's letter tells us a great deal about the collapse of humanistic and academic values at Harvard.

I’ll say more about that tomorrow and in subsequent posts.

Now to Tribe's letter. For readers' ease, I've broken his lengthy paragraphs into shorter ones. Otherwise, his letter's unchanged.

To the editors:

I read with great sadness the editorial written by The Crimson Staff (“The Consequence of Plagiarism,” March 11) calling attention to the several inadequately footnoted phrases and passages drawn from a book by Lynne McTaggart, and from another two or perhaps three works, by the distinguished historian and public commentator, Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her 1987 book, “The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys.”

The editorial chided her for not having consulted the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Handbook for Students before publishing her own 900-page work, a work closely documented with something like 3,500 footnotes—and a work, I might add, that made no bones about its debt to McTaggart, whose book Goodwin dutifully credited and footnoted any number of times and with whom she had settled the inadequate sourcing dispute many years ago.

To add insult to injury, the Crimson staff lectured Goodwin that “she has a long road ahead of her before she restores her credibility as an historian or journalist” and helpfully advised that her “first step should be resigning from the University’s oldest governing board,” its 30-member Board of Overseers.

What utter nonsense!

To be clear, my sadness came not simply from the fact that I have known Doris Kearns Goodwin for decades and am proud to count myself among her friends as well as her admirers.

Nor was I sad to see that Harvard undergraduates remain devoted to the highest standards of scholarly integrity and simple honesty; that devotion heartens me.

Rather, I was sad to see how eagerly these bright young people piled on to heap self-righteous condemnation on a scholar whose too-close-paraphrasing of a few passages even the Crimson editors had to acknowledge was “unintentional,” and who had already taken a ridiculous number of hits, ranging from her suspension from “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer” to her own recusal from this year’s Pulitzer Prize board deliberations to the University of Delaware’s decision to withdraw its invitation that she be its commencement speaker.

I was sad to see how mindlessly, to be frank, students of the college I attended and for which I still feel the greatest fondness were willing to mimic all these presumably sage elders—by overstating what Doris Kearns Goodwin did in being admittedly sloppy with her sources in a minuscule part of her truly extraordinary body of work a decade and a half ago.

And I was sad to witness what seems to me the students’ lack of any real sense of proportion or, for that matter, much sense of decency.

Of course Goodwin erred in following her own paraphrased handwritten notes without checking back in every last one of the 300 or so books she cited to make certain that she had not somewhere mistaken a phrase of her own for a phrase of the author to whom she was footnoting.

I do not minimize that error; it was one no scholar should make, and one Doris Kearns Goodwin would be the first to admit she should not have made.

But there can be no doubt that, unlike the student who turns in someone else’s work as her own and hopes the instructor won’t notice the cribbing—the student for whom the Harvard disciplinary rules to which the Crimson editorial referred were principally written—Goodwin, who cited the very sources she has been accused of not crediting, had not the slightest intention to deceive, to claim originality for thoughts that were unoriginal, or to appropriate another’s deathless prose in hopes that she might be credited with a literary gift that belongs in truth to someone else.

And there can be no doubt that, unlike any number of historians and others who have been caught falsifying as fact what was, in truth, fantasy—either about their own lives or about the events they were chronicling—Goodwin has not been accused, and could not plausibly be accused, of ever purveying false or misleading information, the cardinal sin for any scholar.

The very fact that a number of worthies have seen fit to trumpet their own impeccably high standards by suspending or canceling roles and engagements in which Goodwin would have performed both brilliantly and honorably suggests a rather crude moral and scholarly calculus on their part, but that is a subject for another time.

My only purpose here is to help set the record straight by speaking up, as one scholar who values his own integrity and reputation for meticulous attribution as much as anyone could, for one of the truly outstanding historians of our time, who eloquently brings to life and puts in marvelous perspective not only signal episodes of our past, some misunderstood and others never before unearthed, but also the passing drama of our present.

The NewsHour is poorer for her absence; the students commencing from Delaware will miss much wisdom because she will not be addressing them; the Harvard Board of Overseers would be greatly diminished without her presence; and the students who undertook to judge her—as well as their parents—would be proud if one day they managed to achieve a fraction of what she has achieved, with as little sacrifice or compromise of their personal integrity.

Laurence H. Tribe

The writer is Tyler professor of constitutional law.

Can you believe Tribe's letter.

I responded to it, with particular attention to his nonsensical:
I do not minimize that error; it was one no scholar should make, and one Doris Kearns Goodwin would be the first to admit she should not have made.
The Crimson published my letter. You can read it here.

I hope you come back tomorrow afternoon.


UPDATE - Feb. 25:

A Crimson editor later told me not a single faculty member wrote to the paper supporting what the students had written or taking Tribe to task for his bullying or correcting his many errors of fact.

And friends at Harvard say they can't recall any effort by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to pass a motion saying Goodwin should resign as an Overseer. Yet a few years later, that same faculty voted “no confidence” in Summers.

It all tells you a lot about Harvard.

Gallup commentary on Cheney. My questions

I subscribe to a paid Gallup service which provides some information and services not available to the general public.

One service is a regular commentary by Gallup's Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport. Here's some of his latest (Feb. 20):

Cheney Follow-Up

We're getting the first bits of data on the effect of the Dick Cheney shooting incident on American public opinion.

A WNBC/Marist Poll conducted Monday through Wednesday (before Cheney's on-camera interview with Fox News Channel's Brit Hume) found that nearly two-thirds of registered voters say that no further investigation of the incident is needed.

A TIME magazine poll conducted Wednesday and Thursday (after the interview) found that Cheney's job approval rating had not changed significantly from a November TIME poll (and neither had George W. Bush's approval rating).

Another question in the TIME poll showed that a majority of Americans said the incident did not change their opinions of Cheney either way.

Both major newsmagazines -- TIME and Newsweek -- have Cheney on the cover this week, and the shooting incident will continue to be the subject of some news coverage. But it doesn't look like it is going to have made a major difference in the way the world looks at the vice president.
Interesting reading.

Questions for Newport:

Does Gallup plan to poll on public reaction to press upset at not being informed of the accident as promptly as the press thought proper?

Did the press' making itself a story help, hurt, or have no effect on the press' standing with the public?

How do Americans feel about continuing press coverage such as the Time and Newsweek cover stories?

Does the public think it needs to learn more about the accident or does it see the press is in overkill mode?

Folks, I'm emailing these questions to Newport. He usually gets back to me although it often takes him a week or so if he's traveling.

I'll let you know what I hear back.

What Summers' end tells us

London Times editor Gerard Baker's column today leads with: Summers' end marks the start of a long winter in American universities:

TWENTY YEARS AGO the American philosopher, Allan Bloom, published a book called The Closing of the American Mind, a devastating indictment of the nation’s universities and, more broadly, of its cultural elites.

Its premise was that the spirit of openness, a willingness to consider ideas freely, the great virtue of American life and the guiding ethos of a university had been perverted into a cultural relativism.

From the 1960s liberal philosophy had taken hold, defiantly asserting that truth was in the eye of the beholder, and that notions of absolute ideals or virtues were anachronistic.

In this new world, liberal democracy was no better than totalitarian theocracy, Plato’s philosophy was no more valid than Marianne Faithfull’s and Mozart should be considered on the same terms as the Monkees.

The resignation of Larry Summers as President of Harvard University this week indicates that the closing of the American mind is a continuing process, remorselessly squeezing the light out of its academic enlightenment.
Smooth, Mr. Summers was not. In his often awkward personal habits, overweening intellectual self-confidence and execrable management style, he variously appalled and terrified.
Though a liberal Democrat, Summers had a traditional view of what a university should be doing, pursuing truth and excellence wherever it led. As he surveyed the vast ranks of well-paid academic celebrities at Harvard, puffing out their ideologies on women’s studies and black history, he wondered what it was all about.

His first run-in was with Cornel West, the black professor, who had produced more rap music in recent years than he had books or papers. After a very public row, West left for the more forgiving pastures of Princeton.

Mr. Summers quickly challenged the other pillars of political correctness on which most American universities sit. He opposed an effort to block university investment in Israel and condemned attempts to ban the US Armed Forces from recruiting on campus.

Note that these were not assertive steps designed to enforce a particular world view, but the opposite — attempts to keep minds open to the possibility that their accumulated prejudices might need to be re-examined. (bold added)

But his campaign was a challenge to the view that the approved answers of America’s academic elite to the great issues of our time and history were the whole truth, never to be reopened or re-examined.

Most famously, a year ago, he questioned whether that there were so few women professors at the top of their fields in mathematics and engineering might reflect not only sexual discrimination, but also gender-specific aptitudes in different disciplines.

In the Index of Sins against modern academic political correctness, this is about as grave as it gets. Even to suggest the possibility that there might be innate differences between the sexes or races that could lead to different outcomes is to invite condemnation from the academic Church of the Closed Mind.
There's more Baker here.

What do I think?

Obviously large parts of many American campuses are no longer friendly to intellectual diversity. If you don't toe the party line, "leave before we throw you out."

Later today I'll post on a letter of mine The Harvard Crimson published in response to one by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe, who represented the Vice-president Gore in Gore v. Bush.

Tribe's letter is an example of what people mean when they say much of what is called "intellectual life' at Harvard, and at most other campuses, is really one or another form of ideology nixed with elitist bluster.

Look for the Tribe, Harvard, JinC post around 6 PM Eastern.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Churchill Series - Feb. 23, 2006

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

On the most important issues of the 20th century America and Britain stood together to the great benefit of mankind.

But there were some issues on which they didn’t agree. During much of the 1920s, for instance, the British government told it subjects to enjoy their pints and drams while the American government said, “Prohibition.”

In Britain there was no stronger supporter of his government’s position than Churchill. And not just because on a daily basis he enjoyed champagne, whiskey and brandy.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Churchill was uniquely positioned to appreciate the importance of the tax revenues that flowed from the distilleries to His Majesty’s coffers.

Against that background on April 28, 1925, Churchill presented to the House of Commons his first budget as Chancellor. His presentation lasted more then two hours, in the middle of which he drew from his pocket a small flask and said to the House:

"It is imperative that I should fortify the revenue and I shall now, with the permission of the Commons, proceed to do so."
There were cheers on all sides as he sipped.

But one member, Lady Nancy Astor, rose to object. She wanted Britons to pay more attention to what the Americans were doing about “liquor legislation.”

Churchill assured the House Britain had nothing to learn from the United States on that matter. Again the House cheered; and the budget was soon passed.

And yes, it was Lady Astor who said that if married to our hero, she’d put poison in his tea, which led him to promise that if married to her, he’d drink her tea.

And that, dear readers, leads to a question: Do you ever at weddings reflect on Astor and Churchill’s marriage vows?
William Manchester,
The Last Lion: Visions of Glory. (pgs. 788-789)

Support Michelle Malkin

While most MSM "news organizations" immediately surrender to Muslim extremists, Michelle Malkin has been one of those in the lead in supporting Denmark, the cartoonists, and Western freedoms.

Today, her blog was the target of a Denial of Service cyber-terror type attack. It was down for about 4 hours.

Michelle is now back online and posts:

Confirmed DoS attack, with most of the IP addresses belonging to TurkTelecom. Tech people say the attack is shifting to different source addresses. Loading is spotty and slow. Big headache, but we're working on a more permanent solution. Thanks again for your readership. FYI, I'll be cross-posting over at Pajamas Media.
I strongly agree with just about everything Michelle has said since the cartoons became an issue.

I support her posting the cartoons. I've linked to them before. Here's another link to some of them. Notice the date they were posted at the Danish site: Oct. 2, 2005.

I support “Buy Danish." Not pastries but hams, Legos, you know.

Bloggers who read this, please find a way to express support for Michelle.

If enough of us - bloggers, the honorable few MSM who said "here are the cartoons," and readers - stand firm now, we may yet preserve our freedoms despite the terrorists easy capture of most American "news organizations."

I'm stepping back on the US-UAE port deal

I jumped when I heard about the impending port operations deal between the U.S. and U.A.E. It had to be a bad deal for the U.S. Too much risk to our security.

Now I'm asking myself if I didn't jump too quickly and in the wrong direction.

Here's why.

In the last few days people I respect such as Glenn Reynolds and Charles Krauthammer (See Feb 22 Special Report with Brit Hume transcript) have moved from the "No" column to the "Let's take a closer look" column.

Then there's this from Jonah Goldberg at NRO Online(Scroll down to PORTS AND THE PRESIDENT):

I've been very rough on Bush of late and I agree entirely with the now-obvious consensus that the UAE deal is bad politics. I'm even somewhat convinced that it's bad policy.

But I can't help but get the whiff of hysteria in all of this. Hillary Clinton's getting to the right of Bush, talk radio's going through the roof, Republican presidential wannabes are lining up to distance themselves from the president.

There's even a convenient patina of anti-Arabic feelings in the mix as well as the usual lefty-populist paranoia about secret deals behind the scenes between oilmen and rich Arabs. And, of course, overnight everyone has become an expert in port security.

All this in response to a largely paper transaction (longshoremen will keep their jobs, the coast guard will still handle security, etc) between a British-owned and Arab-owned firm.

In fact, it doesn't seem overwhelmingly obvious to me that Jihadis would have a much harder time infiltrating a British firm than an Arab one.

But mostly, I'm skeptical that this is the security disaster everyone claims because domestic national security is one of the few areas where I really do trust this White House to err on the side of safety.

For five years, liberals have been saying that Bush is an obsessed madman when it comes to the terror threat. And for five years conservatives have been saying, trust him. Suddenly, all of that goes out the window.

Again, I think Bush is probably wrong on the merits. But, I somehow doubt he's as wildly wrong as the mob claims.
Can you see why I'm stepping back?

I'll read and listen the next few days. Then I'll post.

Meanwhile, what you think?

Associated Press bias on port operations deal

The Associated Press headlines:

Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement
And follows with
The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.
Later in the story we read:
Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries

"They're not lax but they're not draconian," said James Lewis, a former U.S. official who worked on such agreements. If officials had predicted the firestorm of criticism over the deal, Lewis said, "they might have made them sound harder.".
The Associated Press doesn't claim the documents it obtained are the only ones the U.S. and the UAE have entered into concerning the port deal.

But none of that stopped the AP from running with the headline:
Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement
No anti-Bush bias at the AP?

UPDATE: As of 10:30 AM Easten this post leads on Newsbusters main page.

A fun post at Powerline

A Powerline there's Compleat fun.

Here's a bit of it.


Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques for my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased to no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Churchill Series - Feb. 22, 2006

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

On the morning of Sept. 21, 1940 Churchill sent the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair, the following note:

Pray have a look at the Air Ministry communiqué issued in this morning papers. It includes the following:
"The enemy formations were engaged by our fighters, but cloud conditions made interception difficult. Reports so far received show that four enemy aircraft were shot down. Seven of our fighters have been lost, the pilots of three being safe."
It is very unwise to let the Germans know that their new tactics have been successful and that they resulted in our losing seven fighters as against four.

We do not, of course, want to conceal our losses, at the present time when we are prospering, but surely there is no need to relate them to any particular action.
No doubt after that morning there were many at the Air Ministry who were more careful about what they said to the press.

Without the Marines, there's no America

The Wall Street Journal John Fund writes about "'Pappy' Shot Down by Campus Ignoramuses:"

It's well known that college students today aren't as educated in our nation's history as they should be, but it's still hard to grasp the mind-bending political correctness just displayed by the University of Washington's student senate at its campus in Seattle.

The issue before the Senate this month was a proposed memorial to World War II combat pilot Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, a 1933 engineering graduate of the university, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service commanding the famed "Black Sheep" squadron in the Pacific.

The student senate rejected the memorial because "a Marine" is not "an example of the sort of person UW wants to produce."

Digging themselves in deeper, the student opponents of the memorial indicated: "We don't need to honor any more rich white males." Other opponents compared Boyington's actions during World War II with murder.

"I am absolutely bewildered that the Student Senate voted down the resolution," Brent Ludeman, the president of the UW College Republicans, told me. He noted that despite the deficiencies of the UW History Department, the complete ignorance of Boyington's history and reputation by the student body was hard to fathom.

After all, "Black Sheep Squadron," a 1970s television show portraying Colonel Boyington's heroism as a pilot and Japanese prisoner of war, still airs frequently on the History Channel. Apparently, though, it's an unusual UW student who'd be willing to learn any U.S. history even if it's spoonfed to him by TV.

As for the sin of honoring a rich white male, Mr. Ludeman points out that Boyington (who died in 1988) was neither rich nor white. He happened to be a Sioux Indian, who wound up raising his three children as a single parent.

"Colonel Boyington is luckily not around to see how ignorant students at his alma mater can be today," says Kirby Wilbur, a morning talk show host at Seattle's KVI Radio. Perhaps the trustees and alumni of the school will now help educate them.
I followed the shameful exhibition by UW student senators. Fund gives us an accurate account.

A few reactions:

When college students say a Marine hero is not "an example of the sort of person UW wants to produce," what they're engaging in is far worse than political correctness. They're engaging in anti-Americanism.

If you think that's too harsh a description, ask yourself: Without the Marines and the rest of our military, could any of us live an American life? Of course not!

So people who don't want to produce and honor Marine heroes want to leave America undefended.

Can you think of anything more un-American?

There'll be plenty of people excusing the student senators with "There just kids!"

Really? College kids shouldn't know at least enough to realize how lucky they are to have our military defending them?

We shouldn't expect college students to express deep gratitude for the military that protects them while they sit sip mocha lattes or down microbrews? C'mon.

Besides, there are plenty of college students who do appreciate the military; some of them are vets just back from Iraq and elsewhere.

Denying or excusing anti-American statements and sentiments from our young people only gets in the way of salvaging those we can save.

More about that soon.

A final thought: A lot of people are saying the students opposed to honoring Boyington have been let down by a lousy and leftist UW History Department.

I don't know anything about the UW History Department but if you're going to blame it for those students, how do you explain students with similar attitudes you can find on campuses all over America?

More about that soon too.

Advice for Press Secretary Scott McClellan


When you walked into The White House briefing room today to read the President's statement condeming the terrorist bombing of the gold-domed shrine in Samarra, the camera showed you smiling (Fox News with Brit Hume).

Next time don't smile.


Blogging resumes Wednesday evening

No more blogging until this evening around 8 PM Eastern.

Traveling most of today.


Stop and listen, Mr. President. Then ask questions

Tom Beven, the politically savvy exec editor of Real Clear Politics, is generally supportive of the Bush administration.

Today Beven writes about (excerpts):

(the) serious gaffe by the White House (involving) its handling of the deal allowing a company based in the United Arab Emirates to take over the operations at six major U.S. ports.

Approved last week by the obscure Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the deal raises legitimate – though not insurmountable – concerns over whether it is appropriate to outsource American port operations to an Arab-based corporation.

The physical reality of the deal is that very little would change: U.S. longshoremen would still man the operations at the ports, and the U.S. Coast Guard would still be responsible for security.

The political reality of the deal is a different matter altogether, and the Bush administration made a terrible mistake by failing to recognize and to proactively deal with the appearance and the sensitivity surrounding the transaction.

The White House should have had the foresight to brief Governors, Senators, relevant House members and Mayors from all the ports involved to assuage any concerns and also to enlist their support. Instead, those very people - both Republican and Democrat - have come out attacking the deal, leaving the White House on its own defending what now looks like a huge political liability.

Late yesterday President Bush dug in his heels, reiterating support for the port deal and vowing to veto any legislative efforts by Congress to scuttle it. This not only continues to keep the Bush administration on the defensive trying to justify a program to which most Americans have a negative gut reaction, but it also sets up a showdown with Congress that Bush may live to regret.
When leaders of your party and politically savvy pundits supporters are saying "Stop," a President ought to himself some questions.

In this case, two should be:

1) Did my staff correctly assess and inform me of the degree of opposition from my political allies to the United Arab Emirates port deal?

2) Do I really want to go forward with the deal now that my party's leaders in both houses of Congress and governors of the states involved oppose it?

The answer to the first question will tell the President a lot about the competence of his staff and the flow of information to his desk.

If the answer to the second question is a "Yes," the President should ask himself another question:
What's my future effectiveness if I head into a veto battle with Jimmy Carter as my best known ally?
Beven's column is here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Churchill Series - Feb. 21, 2006

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

In 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.

Instapundit on the port security deal

Along with many links and comments on the port security story, Instapundit asks:

What is the White House thinking? If this deal is that important, they should have been ahead of the story, not behind it.

No real news here

Robert Draper's GQ article about Senator Joe Biden is titled:

But you knew that, didn't you?

The Palestinians just elected the terrorist Hamas to head their government.

Hamas wants Israel to hand over money Israel collected as part of the Oslo Accords and agreed to give to the Palestinians in exchange for their agreeing to peace with Israel.

But since Hamas doesn't recognize the Oslo Accords and vows continued terrorism against Israel, the Israelis won't hand over the money. Palestinians call this "punishment."

What would former President Jimmy Carter say? His Washington Post op-ed is titled, Don't Punish the Palestinians.

Who's surprised?

Now this title would be news: "Carter finally agrees to make public records of Arab funding of his library."

But it wouldn't be true. Carter refuses to release those records.

They must be awfully interesting.

Christopher Hitchens on the cartoon wars

Christopher Hitchens has a powerful article in Slate: "Stand up for Denmark!"

Here's part of it:

The incredible thing about the ongoing Kristallnacht against Denmark (and in some places, against the embassies and citizens of any Scandinavian or even European Union nation) is that it has resulted in, not opprobrium for the religion that perpetrates and excuses it, but increased respectability!

A small democratic country with an open society, a system of confessional pluralism, and a free press has been subjected to a fantastic, incredible, organized campaign of lies and hatred and violence, extending to one of the gravest imaginable breaches of international law and civility: the violation of diplomatic immunity.

And nobody in authority can be found to state the obvious and the necessary—that we stand with the Danes against this defamation and blackmail and sabotage.

Instead, all compassion and concern is apparently to be expended upon those who lit the powder trail, and who yell and scream for joy as the embassies of democracies are put to the torch in the capital cities of miserable, fly-blown dictatorships. Let's be sure we haven't hurt the vandals' feelings.

I plan to say more about Hitchens article in the next day or so.

Right now I just want to call it to you attention. Please read the whole thing.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Churchill Series – Feb. 20, 2006

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

Did you know Churchill disliked whistling? His aides did and made sure not to whistle when he was around.

But there was a London newsboy who didn’t know about Churchill’s dislike. What’s more, when he learned of it from Churchill himself, the boy didn’t care.

The incident happened one day as Churchill and his bodyguard, Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, were making the short walk from Parliament to 10 Downing Street. As Thompson tells it:

Approaching …(us) was a boy of about thirteen years of age, hands in pockets, newspapers under his arms, whistling loudly and cheerfully.

When the boy drew near, Winston hunched his shoulders, walked towards the boy and said in a stern voice: “Stop that whistling.”

The boy looked up at the Prime Minister with complete unconcern and answered: “Why should I?”

“Because I don’t like it and it’s a horrible noise,” growled Winston.

The boy moved onwards a few steps, then turned round and called out: “Well, you can shut your ears, can’t you?”

With that he walked on.

Winston was completely taken aback , and for a moment he looked furious. Then, as he crossed the road, he began to smile and quietly repeated to himself the words “You can shut your ears, can’t you?” and followed it up with a hearty chuckle.
I wonder whether Churchill chuckled because in his mind’s eye he saw something of himself in the boy.
Tom Hickman,
Churchill's Bodyguard. (pgs, 116-117)

A question Americans should be asking

Margaret Thatcher warned Europeans: Once you've given up your country’s currency, you've given up your sovereignty.

Dutch, Italians, French and others locked into the Euro currency, now must stand aside while regulations governing their communities and countries are made in Brussels.

Americans should ask: If we give up control of our ports, aren’t we giving up control of our country?

Don’t miss Michelle Malkin’s latest port security post. Also read Cal Thomas and Frank Gaffney.

UPDATE 2/21/06:

Michelle Malkin has updates here. Be sure to read this.

The NY Times’ Maureen Dowd should read the transcript

We all grow older. Some of us grow a little wiser. And then there’s Maureen Dowd who keeps getting sillier.

Here’s some of what Dowd said yesterday, Feb. 19, on Meet the Press:

Well, I think that the reason this story (not immediately notifying the WH press corps of the hunting accident – JinC) has evoked such fascination is because the vice president is like the phantom. You know, we hear the creak of the door as he passes, but we don’t really know what he’s up to.

We don’t know his schedule. We don’t always know where he is. We don’t know what democratic institution he’s blowing off at any given minute, and so this allowed us to see how his behavior and judgment operated pretty much in real time—with the delay, but pretty much in real time.

And it covered all the problems of the Bush/Cheney administration: secrecy and stonewalling, then blowing off the rules that are at the heart of our democracy, then using a filter to try and put the truth out in a way that would most suit their political needs, and then bad political judgment in bungling a crisis.

I mean, if there’s one thing the Republicans are great at since Reagan, it’s damage control. But he is such a control freak, you know, he doesn’t even care about the damage.”
Speaking of damage, Maureen, have you looked at the transcript of what you said Feb. 19 on Meet The Press?

Hat tip: Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters

Any award for this lawyer who's defending us?

We've heard from so many “First Amendment” MSM news editors offering tortured pieties about why they won’t publish the cartoons

Then there’s law professor and blogger Glenn Reynolds today:

apparently various ignorant thugs are threatening sites that post them. So I guess that makes it my turn. Here are a couple of the better ones. More will follow if this nonsense keeps up.
Each year, journalism schools and professional associations hand out lots of awards honoring people “For Defense of Freedom” and “Courageous Journalism in the National Interest” and so forth.

Almost always, the honorees are fellow journalists.

But given what's happened the past few weeks, do you think there’s a chance some journalism school or professional association will see in Reynolds’ action the kind of courage journalists are always talking about; and give him an award?

Ok, I didn’t think so either.

Anyway, Reynolds is a lawyer to love. And a great blogger, too.

Someone tell The Oregonian about Mickey Kaus

On Feb. 12, The Oregonian’s public editor explained to readers his newspaper’s decision on the cartoons (excerpt):

Editors at The Oregonian talked about the issue but gave little consideration to publishing the cartoons that have sparked violence across the world. They reasoned that sharing the cartoon was not necessary for readers to understand the story.

"We have every right and an ability to publish the cartoons," says Therese Bottomly, managing editor for news. "But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do."

Bottomly says the newspaper could convey the content of the cartoons to readers without also offending readers. She likened it to the newspaper's avoidance of the "N" word; the racial slur can be described without repeating it.
On Feb. 19, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby told his readers a little more about The Oregonian’s decision(excerpt):
Several have claimed they wouldn't print the Danish cartoons for the same reason they wouldn't print overtly racist or anti-Semitic material.

The managing editor for news of The Oregonian, for example, told her paper's ombudsman that not running the images is like avoiding the N-word -- readers don't need to see a racial slur spelled out to understand its impact.

Yet a Nexis search turns up at least 14 occasions since 1999 when The Oregonian has published the N-word unfiltered.
Media critic Mickey Kaus keeps telling journalists: Never lie to readers who know how to use Nexis.

Someone needs to tell The Oregonian about Kaus.

Troubling news from honest editors

In Jeff Jacoby’s Feb. 19 Boston Globe column:

The Phoenix is Boston's leading ''alternative" newspaper, the kind of brash, pull-no-punches weekly that might have been expected to print without hesitation the Mohammed cartoons that Islamists have been using to incite rage and riots across the Muslim world.

Its willingness to push the envelope was memorably demonstrated in 2002, when it broke with most media to publish a grisly photograph of Daniel Pearl's severed head, and supplied a link on its website to the sickening video of the Wall Street Journal reporter's beheading.

But the Phoenix isn't publishing the Mohammed drawings, and in a brutally candid editorial it explained why.

''Our primary reason," the editors confessed, is ''fear of retaliation from . . . bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do . . . Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and . . . could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy.

As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year-publishing history."
Every one of us who values democracy is saddened by The Phoenix’s decision. And worried, too, because The Phoenix editors are part of that very large group of American news editors who’ve been frightened into not publishing the cartoons.

We are in a war for democracy and just about all American news organizations are in retreat or have been captured.

We need to turn things around. The best way to do that would be to have a "No Intimidation Day" on which all American bloggers and news organizations would publish or link to the cartoons.

As for The Phoenix editors, they were honest with readers. No piffle about “civic relevancy” and “competing public interests in play.” Their honesty on that matter separates them from most of their professional peers.

You can read Jacoby’s column here.

Thank you to Mike Williams for pointing out Jacoby's column.

And be sure to read these posts which relate to this one:

Someone tell The Oregonian about Mickey Kaus

Any award for this lawyer who's defending us?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Here's what the LA Times pays for

Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks begins her column today with:

It's been a rough couple of weeks. Hamas won the Palestinian elections; protests over cartoons representing the prophet Muhammad raged around the world; more Americans and Iraqis were killed by suicide bombers; new Abu Ghraib photos were released; and, here at home, the vice president got violent.(bold added)
Cartoon "protests."

A "violent" vice president.

Brooks must be auditioning for a news editorship at one of the big MSM outfits.

Meanwhile, the liberal Los Angeles Times' circulation and ad revenues continue to decline.

Hat tip: Patterico, with thanks to Jal for the link.

Here's an editor who didn't fold

These past few weeks American newspaper editors who eagerly published photos of Abu Ghraib and called Piss Christ art have told us it's not about their safety or the safety of their journalist friends. It about "not offending" and "religious sensitivity." Sure.

But not all editors have fallen below the fold. Some have acted with judgement and courage; and spoken honestly to their readers.

One such editor is The Rocky Mountain News' John Temple. Here's part of what he said to readers yesterday:

I was encouraged by the positive response to our decision to print in our Commentary section last Saturday a collection of cartoons offensive to Catholics, Jews, Baptists and, yes, Muslims. You can still find the package of columns and cartoons at

I thought you might be interested in seeing what readers said, given that the Rocky Mountain News is one of the few American newspapers to expose its readers to any of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that are blamed for rioting across the Muslim world.

"Thank you," was the consistent message.

"Thank you for taking a stand for freedom of the press when so many of our U.S. newspapers caved in," an e-mail from Breckenridge told me. "My respect for you and the Rocky Mountain News is renewed."

"Congratulations on being an equal opportunity offender," another e-mail said. "Well done and well said. The Danish cartoon reveals media double standards, bias and political correctness run amok (all of which continue to be denied, save for you and a few others)."

I received only a handful, literally, of complaints, and three of them were form letters late in the week.

On our Web site, we asked a poll question: "Should the Rocky Mountain News have published any of the Danish Muhammad cartoons?" Now, admittedly, this was an unscientific poll, but 96 percent of the respondents said, "Yes."

This whole experience of publishing these cartoons has been enough for me to want to wear a Danish flag pin in solidarity with that country and to regret - at least during this test of journalism's commitment to free speech - my membership in the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
I can't think of anything to add to what Temple said except "Thank you."

You can read Temple's column here.

I'm sending Temple a link to this post.

If you wish to email him, his address is:

It's always important to commend the good ones.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Will 2 "no cartoons" editors do a few simple things?

Here in North Carolina, just about every MSM “First Amendment” news editor has decided we can’t see the Danish cartoons, at least not in their newspapers.

Greensboro News & Record editor John Robinson told readers, “Yes, it's absolutely within our rights to publish. But for us, it's less a free speech issue than a civic relevancy issue.”

Raleigh News & Observer executive editor for news Melanie Sill told readers, “The N&O, as an American newspaper protected by the First Amendment and traditions of free speech, doesn't have much to prove in terms of being able to publish any material we like. However, when we publish material we know will upset people, we spend plenty of time and discussion weighing our reasons for doing so and the competing public interests in play.”

Robinson and Sill’s insist their decisions have nothing to do with fear for themselves, their staffs or journalist friends.

Robinson and Sill note their decisions have provoked public discussion of how their papers operate. They say public discussion is fine with them.

Well then, to further public discussion of their "no cartoons" decisions, will Robinson and Sill do a few simple things:

1) Make public the total number of Abu Ghraib prison photos each of their papers has published.

2) Make public the number of individual Abu Ghraib prison photos each of their papers has published more than once.

3) Each write a column explaining why it was necessary to publish during the past few years all those Abu Ghraib photos but not a single Danish cartoon even once.

4) When Andres Serrano stuck a crucifix in a vial which he then filled with his urine, calling the result Piss Christ, both Robinson and Sill's news columns referred to Piss Christ as art.

Will Robinson and Sill explain why their news columns aren't now referring to the Danish cartoons as art?
I hope both editors agree to do what is asked for here.

Their answers will be very helpful to their many readers who are now discussing their "no cartoons" decisions.

I'm emailing a link to this post to both editors. I’ll offer to publish their responses in full at this blog.