Saturday, March 11, 2006

How is socialized medicine doing in Britain?

In 1997 the U. K.’s Labour Party promised voters that, once in office, Labour would solve the National Health Service's chronic problems of bloated government management, long waiting lists for essential services, and, as perceived by many, a decline in the quality of their health care.

Labour won a huge majority; and has remained in office since.

So how have things worked out for voters who count on the NHS for their health care?

I think the following helps to answer that question.

From the Mar. 9 right-leaning Daily Telegraph:

Wards closed and staff cut as NHS cash crisis bites

Compulsory redundancies (personal cuts to Americans - JinC) in the NHS (National Health Service) were announced yesterday, despite record investment in the service.

Unions predicted that more job cuts would follow after hospital trusts announced ward closures, the cancellation of 24-hour care and staff redundancies.
That story drew this letter on Mar. 10 :

To provide for those who cannot provide for themselves is necessary and accepted.

To insist that everybody must be obliged to use the same public provision, to prevent those who have money having an advantage over those who have not, is not merely dogmatic silliness, but is also the reason the NHS is hugely more expensive than it need be and hugely less efficient than it could be.

David Taylor, Ffestiniog, Gwynedd
On Mar. 10 the left-leaning Guardian told its readers:
NHS forced to fix bungled private sector hip replacement operations

Drive to cut waiting lists resulting in poor surgery

Overseas staff asked to do unfamiliar procedures

NHS hospitals are having to repair the damage done during botched operations on people who have been sent to private centres for hip and knee replacements to cut waiting lists, it is revealed today.

Independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) have been set up around the country using mainly surgeons from overseas to take the pressure off major NHS hospitals by fast-tracking the easiest cases.

But Angus Wallace, professor of orthopaedic and accident surgery at Nottingham University, writes in the British Medical Journal that "the number of patients we are seeing with problems resulting from poor surgery - incorrectly inserted prostheses, technical errors and infected joint replacements - is too great."
Friends here in Britain all say things are worse than the Telegraph and Guardian reports suggest.

In the next few days I'll post again on Britain's NHS

About The Raleigh News & Observer's backbone

When I mention The Raleigh N&O’s backbone you might think I'm talking about its fear of printing any Danish cartoons or the cartoon depicting Mohammad the ran in the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel.

Not in this post.

N&O backbone here refers to something the paper’s executive editor for news , Melanie Sill, said at her blog:

(Duke University Professor) Hamilton is interested in how public affairs reporting (investigative work, policy reporting on the local and state level) will fare if newspapers' advertising revenues keep declining. That kind of work is The N&O's backbone, so Hamilton and I had plenty to discuss.
I wonder if Sill told Hamilton about some recent N&O investigative and policy reporting “backbone” work.

In a Feb. 15 front page story, The N&O reported a group of state workers had been “caught cheating.” No other newspaper in the state bought The N&O’s story.

Two days later, The N&O was forced to admit the employees hadn’t cheated. It issued a correction but no apology for making the false charge.

On Feb 22, The N&O’s front page included a photocopy of North Carolina Congresswoman Sue Myrick’s one sentence letter to President Bush:
"In regards to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO — but HELL NO!"
The N&O didn’t inform readers that Myrick was wrong in saying the UAE deal involved “selling American ports.”

On Mar. 2 The N&O front page headlined an AP story which repeated a previously disproved claim that President Bush was warned before Katrina hit land that the New Orleans levee’s could be breached. Bloggers immediately pointed that out; and the AP issued what it called a “clarification.”

But The N&O has yet to explain why its investigative and policy news team published a claim about Bush that bloggers at home in their pajamas knew was false. Surely The N&O team know that too

On Mar. 6 Congresswoman Myrick was back on page one, this time the subject of a 1000 word story about how “she cussed her president last month,” works awfully hard in Washington for the folks back home, and might even be a future governor.

But The N&O didn't mention Myrick was wrong about the UAE deal involving “selling American ports.”

If, as Editor Sill claims, investigative and policy reporting is The N&O’s “backbone,” it’s a badly fractured one.

Editor, heal thyself.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Churchill Series - Mar.10, 2006

For the last forty years of his life, Chartwell was Churchill’s principal residence. Abandoned when he purchased it, Churchill restored and expanded the main house, and brought its surrounding farmlands back to active production.

That activity, the need for servants and services that followed, and the flow of guests to the house when Churchill was in residence, all combined to have a considerable effect on life in the nearby village of Westerham; creating among other things something of an economic boom in the village.

Here’s an amusing example of how the "Churchill boom" affected daily life in Westerham:

A journalist working for the Sevenoaks Chronicle, Percy Reid, lived in Westerham from the mid-1930s.

Like most reporters working for small-town newspapers, Reid also acted as a correspondent to most of the London national newspapers and international news agencies.

With Churchill on his territory the opportunities to augment his salary were promising. (But to) avoid making fruitless journeys up the steep hill from Westerham, Reid devised his own method of finding out whether or not Churchill was in residence.

The local news agent, Mr. Bodger, had a contract to deliver all the national newspapers to Chartwell every day that Churchill was there. This included the official communist organ, the Daily Worker.

Mr. Bodger confessed that this was the only copy of that particular journal he ever sold locally. Reid deduced that whenever he saw the Daily Worker displayed for sale on the rack outside the news agents shop it had to be a copy not delivered to Chartwell that day: therefore Churchill was not at home!
Churchill hated Communism but loved newspapers. In the case of the Daily Worker, love won out to the benefit of Mr. Bodger and Mr. Reid.
In all the to-and-froing with Blogger to get JinC back up, I've lost the source information. I'll find it and update this post. Thanks for your understanding - John

Barone salutes Captain Morrissey, skewers FAIR law profs

Maybe I'm the last blogger to know about it but I'm very happy anyway to tell you Michael Barone has a blog.

Now we'll have not just Barone columns, but blog posts too. Thoughtful Americans are lucky.

Here's the last part of a post concerning the recent 8-0 Supreme Court decision in FAIR v. Rumsfeld :

The military policy that the law schools object to is the ban on homosexuals in military service.

As Roberts's opinion points out, that policy was the result of legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president (President Clinton, in fact). The law schools' real beef is not with the military, which rightly follows orders, but with Congress.

A serious argument can be made that that policy should be changed; here such an argument is presented by Ed Morrissey of the Captains Quarters blog.
"Let's end the hypocrisy and admit that gays have made good soldiers, sailors, and airmen in the past and present and could contribute to our national defense in the future," Morrissey concluded. "Addendum: I expect to get pilloried on this one, so feel free to fire away in the comments section."
I took a look at the comments section and found many commenters agreed with Morrissey and that those who disagreed seem to frame their arguments respectfully, basing them in many cases on personal experience. Not the sort of flaming hatred you find in so many comments on

Meanwhile, while the law professors at Yale, among other universities, preen themselves on opposing the evil military for giving homosexuals no harsher a penalty than a general discharge, Yale College has admitted as a student a former spokesman for the Taliban, which threw homosexuals into ditches and then had concrete walls bulldozed over them.

The hypocrisy of the academic elite is repulsive: The only common theme is a dislike for America.
There's a lot I want to say about Barone's post but as most of you know I'm still recovering from a major support failure by Blogger. Tomorrow I'll comment further on Barone's post.

Barone's post is here.

Blogger support failure. Things still not 100%


JinC suffered a major support failure by Blogger beginning Tuesday, Mar. 7, around 8 pm Eastern. Other bloggers got hit with the same failure, which Blogger says is new fixed.

But as many of you know, when Blogger fixes things thay don't always stay fixed.

I'm still having some difficulties, including accessing draft posts and parts of my archives. But it seems I can put up new posts.

I just got the Mar. 9 Churchill Series post up. I'm hoping this post goes up too.

After that I'll post something concerning Michael Barone.

I've just arrived in England so jet lag is setting in.

But later today or early tomorrow I'll be posting some eyewitness material from London. The newspapers and friends here agree: The National Health Service is in serious trouble. I'll share information about that as well as taking a look at how the papers here are covering news from the states.

If all goes well, I'll get another Churchill Series post up tonight, Mar. 10, with more posts tomorrow.

Please bear with me.

There's quite a lot on its way if Blogger cooperates.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Churchill Series - Mar. 9, 2006

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

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, March 07, 2006

"Whiff of McCarthy" and conservative parents

Oh my goodness!

Australia’s reports on "Whiff of McCarthy as pupils out teachers":

Teachers who express radical left-wing views in the classroom are facing a new tactic in America: conservative parents are encouraging students to make recordings of their views.

The use of micro-recording devices, often in mobile phones or digital music players, is the latest twist in conservatives' struggle against what they see as the leftist slant of American education.

A high-school geography teacher was placed on leave last week in Colorado after a 16-year-old pupil recorded him comparing US President George W. Bush to Hitler.
Should we be shocked? I don’t think so.

We all knew that if Bush was reelected, conservative parents would take that as a green light to get more involved in their children’s education.

Experts warned that as conservatives got more involved in their children’s educations, there could be a “copy-cat effect” with liberal and politically independent parents getting more involved in their children’s educations.

All of that has brought us this "Whiff of McCarthy," with children recording what their teachers say to them in the privacy of public school classrooms.

We should all ask ourselves: What will the future be like if parents learn more about what’s going on at school?

Please help stop this latest conservative assault on what liberal teacher unions hold most dear, freedom from accountability and the right to proselytize.

To volunteer your help, call the National Education Association at: 202- 833-4000

Or call your state association. In North Carolina it’s the NC Association of Educators: 919-832-3000

When speaking with representatives of the NEA or your state’s teachers’ union, remember to use short sentences and words of five letters or less.

Can "Soft Europe" fight for anything besides a welfare check?

In today's WSJ Leon de Winter asks whether Europe will "fight for anything, besides a welfare check?"

After two years of disastrous dialogue, and more of the same in recent days, we can conclude that no diplomatic initiative can stop Iran from getting the bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency meets again this week to discuss the mullahs' nuclear ambitions, while Russia floats a plan to get Iran to enrich uranium on its soil. But before we got to this point, we had the Europeans in the starring role. The foreign ministers of the leading European Union countries--Britain, France and Germany--did try for years to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions, most recently at Friday's meeting in Vienna that ended up in yet another failure.

But Iran knew all along that this threesome, formally the "Troika," had no real negotiating authority and would never resort to serious measures.

And yet Britain's Jack Straw, France's Philippe Douste-Blazy (and his predecessor, Dominique de Villepin) and Germany's Joschka Fischer (and his successor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier) talked on, clinging to a postmodern European belief in a world where any conflict can be resolved with enough reason and mutual understanding.

The Troika offered the mullahs economic carrots and alternative sources of nuclear power--as if energy had anything to do with it--while Iran did what any football team does when it's ahead: It played for time.

This it used very well to push ahead with its clandestine nuclear program.

Did the Troika know that Iran knew that Europe was weak? Of course. Europe's posturing was empty from the start.

The mullahs also knew that the Troika couldn't back up its threat of an economic boycott with the threat of military action.
There more excellent reporting before de Winter ends:
So for years the Troika continued talking, maintaining the illusion that Tehran was playing by the rules as equal partners and denying the reality that the Mullahs will gain great economic and military leverage over Europe in the very near future.

Europe could have suppressed the Iranian threat if it had convinced the mullahs two years ago that it was willing to contemplate military options. Only Europe lacks core values that it holds sacrosanct and that it's willing to defend at the highest cost.

Thanks to European illusions about soft power, the free world has two options left on Iran: disaster or catastrophe. America and Israel will bleed for Europe's lack of conviction.
I hope you read the whole thing. I'll be posting more on it tonight, including what European friends are telling me about what they think will happen next with Iran.

Yale needs to change its Alma Mater

UPDATE Mar. 15: Michelle Malkin has the latest on Yale's welcome to Taliban on campus.

Yale’s Alma Mater, written more than a century ago, ends:

For God, for country, and for Yale.
How inappropriate for the Yale of today.

God? Yale enrolls a Taliban leader. His religion tells him to kill gays, treat women as slaves, and blow up statues of Buddha. He's a campus celeb.

Yale students who want to join the ROTC are told it's not permitted on campus. America's military just doesn't treat gays right. But the students are free to hang out with the Taliban.

Country? Read a little of this Powerline post by Scott Johnson:
When Navy Judge Advocate General recruiter Brian Whitaker visited Yale Law School (on October 9,2003) to meet with students interested in serving as Navy lawyers, his reception was not unlike that of the man who was tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail; if it weren't for the honor of the thing, he’d probably rather have passed on it.

Virtually all law students signed a petition that they would not meet with Whitaker or other JAG recruiters. The petition was publicly displayed inside the law school as part of a protest display that included black and camouflage wall hangings. To top off the warm reception, the one law student scheduled to meet with Whitaker cancelled the interview.
That gives an idea of how Yale treats our military. But Taliban are welcome as long as they don't try to join the ROTC.

And Yale? It once stood for intelligence, reason, and service in defense of America. Now it's best symbolized by a Law School faculty so enamored of its own ideology and so out of touch with the Constitution, that it brought before The U. S. Supreme Court a claim (FAIR v. Rumsfeld ) the court rejected in a stinging 8-0 rebuke.

Here’s a last Alma Mater line I think is appropriate for the Yale of today:
For clods, for Taliban, and hypocrisy.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Churchill Series - Mar. 6, 2006

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

In the 1929 stock market crash, Churchill suffered financial losses so great he was dependent for a while on loans from friends. To repay them and support himself and his family, he undertook a series of financially lucrative, but physically arduous, lecture tours.

During the winter of 1932, Churchill lectured throughout the United States. Phyllis Moir, his secretary at the time, was one of those who accompanied him. She tells us something of what it was like:

"It means revising speeches in taxicabs and dressing out of suitcases. It means always being the social lion for the lion hunters, however tired and out-of-sorts one may feel. It means eating caterer’s meals. It means living by a train schedule. (And that could mean boarding an overnight sleeper shortly after midnight; and then at 6 AM having to get off at a cold, deserted station in the city where you were to deliver a noontime lecture. - JinC)
(All this) Mr. Churchill accepted almost cheerfully.
(H)e never made the same speech twice. After each engagement he would think of a number of improvements and would set to work the next morning on the text of his address. He polished and re-polished his speeches endlessly so that they seemed to grow considerably in scope and depth."
What Moir describes is remarkable under any circumstances, but especially so given that, shortly after the tour began Churchill, then 57, was hit and seriously injured by an auto in New York. He was hospitalized for 8 days and confined to bed for another 3 weeks.

Winston S. Churchill III on Islamic fundamentalism

Winston S. Churchill III, grandson of the former Prime Minister, visited North Carolina recently to address a dinner in Raleigh sponsored by the John Locke Foundation.

Churchill III is an author who served 27 years in the House of Commons until he stood down in 1997. He's lectures widely on current events.

Some excerpts from his address:

Authoritarianism constantly rears its ugly head, even within our own societies on both sides of the Atlantic, in so many guises and disguises, and in every field, be it religion, government or the military.
(Today) a new challenge — another ism — confronts us, and that is the challenge of Islamic fundamentalism. Extremist Islam has declared war on the rest of the world, as evidenced by their ruthless attacks across the globe — overwhelmingly targeted at innocent civilians. Beside the outrage of 9/11, the bombings in Madrid, in Bali, in London and, most recently, in Jordan come to mind.

Those who have declared jihad against the West, and Western values, such as freedom of speech, are doing all in their power to mobilize against us the large Muslim communities living in our midst.

In North America, there are an estimated six million Muslims in the USA, plus a further three-quarter million in Canada; while in the European Union, they number an estimated 20 million, including nearly 2 million in Britain. Unlike most other categories of migrant, the Muslims are reluctant to assimilate and, all too often, wish to pursue their own agenda.

At the same time it is vital that, in our pursuit of the men and women of terror — we do all we can, not to alienate these large Muslim communities already established among us. For, without the active support of the Muslim communities, we shall never excise this deadly cancer in our midst.
Churchill III warned of the consequences of failure in Iraq:
Nothing could be more disastrous than if, at this juncture, the United States were to cut and run (from Iraq). 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.

Let no one imagine that by pulling out of Iraq, the threat will simply evaporate. On the contrary, it will redouble, it will come closer to home and our enemies will have established in Iraq the very base that, by our defeat of the Taliban, we have denied them in Afghanistan. We shall see a desperately weakened United States, with its armed forces undermined and demoralized, increasingly at the mercy of our terrorist enemies.

Precipitate withdrawal is the counsel of defeatism and cowardice, which, if it holds sway, will immeasurably increase the dangers that today confront, not just America, but the entire Western world. It is something for which we shall pay a terrible price in the years ahead.

When great nations go to war — and they should do so only as a last resort — they must expect to suffer grievous losses and must commit to war with an unconquerable resolve to secure victory.
After reading Churchill III's speech, a blog friend who's an admirer of Churchill III's grandfather said, "The apple didn't fall far from the tree."

Read Churchill III's speech here.

And a "Thank you" to the Locke Foundation for making Churchill III's visit possible and making the speech available to us.

Drudge spell-checks Streisand. Eleven errors

If you were posting an essay at your Internet site opining on history and world affairs and ridiculing President Bush for being a "C student," I bet you'd have enough sense to spell-check before posting. But Barbra Streisand didn't.

Matt Drudge tells us the liberal diva:

launched a new spelling error-ridden dispatch on the Internet -- a dispatch that mocks President Bush for being a "C student!"

In her February 28th, 2006 essay, Streisand flubs 11 words, a personal record.

• Irag
• curruption
• dictatoriship
• crediblity
• Adminstration
• warrented
• desperatly
• preceedings
• ouside
• subpoening
• responsibilty
Streisand makes four spelling errors -- in one sentence!

["In the 1970’s, during the Nixon Adminstration, serious political curruption arose and the Republican leadership stepped up and took responsibilty by holding hearings and subpoening administration officials."]

Streisand has not seen fit to run a spell-check on the rant as of Noon, March 06
I updated at 1 PM Eastern. The errors are still there.

I also copied, pasted and spell-checked Streisand's essay. A Microsoft spell-check caught them all.

I've posted the essay below as it appeared at Streisand’s site at 1 PM. I put two stars (**) before each misspelled word.

People, people who need spell-check
are just about everyone in the world.

The Importance of Balanced Power in Congress ...Barbra Streisand

Posted on February 28, 2006

The party that holds the majority in both the House and the Senate controls the entire congressional agenda. Everything from what bills are considered, to how long committees debate them, to whether bills get reported out onto the floor, and finally whether a vote gets scheduled, is all determined by the leadership of both the House and the Senate. In the past, there have been instances when members of congress, in their oversight of the President, were courageous enough, regardless of their party affiliation, to step up to their constitutional obligation to be a check and balance on the White House. In the 1970’s, during the Nixon **Adminstration, serious political **curruption arose and the Republican leadership stepped up and took **responsibilty by holding hearings and **subpoening administration officials. Eventually, the President was forced to resign rather than face impeachment **preceedings that likely would have been successful. It is clear that today's Republican Congressional leaders are not prepared to hold this President accountable. Therefore, it’s critical that people elect members of the Democratic party to the House and Senate so that a new leadership can take control. Only if this occurs, can we even begin to imagine a time when there will be a myriad of investigations so **desperatly needed on so many issues…let alone the ultimate investigation which would involve the conduct of the President of the United States and the determination of whether his actions **warrented impeachment proceedings.

What more will it take for the Republican leadership to finally show some integrity and hold Bush accountable for his actions? Our congress, who is supposed to serve as the checks and balances of the executive branch of government, has completely lost their voice. First, Bush ignored clear warnings before 9/11 about an impending terrorist attack. He then lied to the public about the presence of WMDs in Iraq and rushed to unilaterally invade the country after promising to work with the United Nations. Now, more than four years after the worst attack on American soil, Bush and his **adminstration have yet to capture Osama bin Laden, the person responsible for 9/11. The Republican majority continued to be silent during the President’s horrible mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina. They turned their back when the President appointed inexperienced inept buddies to the most important government positions. They looked in the other direction when their fellow Republican leaders came under indictment for fraud and corruption. And they continued to do nothing as the President trampled on the American public’s most basic rights by wiretapping phone lines and conducting warrantless searches **ouside of the congressionally mandated rules of the Federal Court.

When no one thought that this President could push his luck any further, the **Adminstration disclosed that they are in the midst of closing a $6.8 billion deal to give a company owned by the United Arab Emirates management of six American ports. The UAE has ties to the September 11 attacks. In fact, two of the hijackers from 9/11 were from the UAE and money for the Taliban has been laundered through UAE banks. The UAE recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government when the rest of the world turned their back on the regime. And a study by U.S. News & World Report stated in December that the UAE was notorious for its smuggling, money laundering and drug trafficking in support of terrorists. As the Bush administration weathered the outcry from across the political spectrum for this absurd decision, the Administration continues their support by claiming that the UAE has been a valuable partner in fighting the ‘War on Terror’ and that discrimination against foreign companies would be un-American.

But as the coverage continues, the true motives of Bush's position are starting to slip out. If this Administration lies to the American people about the reasons to wage war, the public should expect them to be dishonest about virtually anything. So it is not surprising to find out that the while the Bush Administration is trying to quietly slip this port security deal under the radar, they are simultaneously negotiating a free trade agreement with the UAE. Why be surprised? This President, ‘jokingly’ stated "If this were a **dictatoriship it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." Over the last 5 years, Bush’s leadership has resembled that of a dictatorship. The arrogance of this C student who maligns his opponents’ **crediblity by calling them flip floppers, is the biggest flip flopper himself! When debating Al Gore during the 2000 presidential elections, Bush spoke against nation building, yet went into **Irag a year later to national build…which we now see has resulted in disaster.

This UAE deal once again points out the level of control corporate interests and big business have on this Administration. Its decisions are usually tied directly to the reactions of Corporate America. And the fact that the White House is ignoring its own security experts and reacting so negatively to Congress' opposition clearly sends the message to the American people that free trade and **and big business trumps national security and American safety in a post 9/11 world. The Center for American Progress points out that in 2002 the Coast Guard estimated that it would cost $5.4 billion over 10 years to make the necessary improvements to our nation’s ports, and last year only $175 million was appropriated to the program. And only 6 percent of the 9 million containers arriving in U.S. ports are physically inspected by customs agents. Under these weakened security conditions, our country should not be outsourcing the management of 6 major ports to countries with terrorist affiliations.

However, when asked about the UAE deal, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that '[the United States] has to balance the paramount urgency of security against the fact that we still want to have a robust global trading system.” Surely, during war time, when anti-American sentiment is at its highest and terrorist breeding grounds are rampant throughout the Middle East, a ‘robust global trading system’ must not be more important to the President than protecting the lives of the American people.

Raleigh News & Observer still not reporting Halimi killing, French reaction

Last Thursday, Mar. 2, I posted “Why is The Raleigh News & Observer silent on the Halimi crimes and what followed?”

Why hadn’t The N&O reported the Jan 20 kidnapping in Paris of a young French Jew, Ilan Halimi, and his subsequent torture and killing by a gang based in one of the neighborhoods where rioting occurred.

Why hadn’t The N&O reported France has been shocked and shaken by details of the gruesome crimes and the government’s admission, after initial denials, that anti-Semitism was a motive for them.

Many newspapers and wire services have reported on the crimes and French reaction.

For example, a Feb. 20 Washington Post story headlined:

France sees racist motive in brutal torture death

And just yesterday, Mar. 5, the New York Times ran a lengthy story:

Torture and Death of Jew Deepen Fears in France

But from The N&O: nothing.


Twice last week, I contacted N&O public editor Ted Vaden. We talked first by phone. Vaden said he hadn’t heard anything about Halimi but he’d check with “our news people” and get back to me.

Two days later Vaden hadn’t gotten back , so I sent him this email:

Dear Ted:

This post relates to my phone call Tuesday.

I'll publish your response.


Here’s what I got back from Vaden:,
I communicated your concern to our nation/world editor. Ted Vaden
I’ve heard nothing from the nation/world editor.

While The N&O has failed to report anything about the Halimi crimes and France’s reaction, it did find time and space in its A section for a detailed report about a 67 year-old Amish man in Ohio who spent thousands of dollars to obtain the services of a prostitute.

You can contact Vaden at:

You can contact executive editor for news Melanie Sill at:

I’m going to continue to ask why The N&O has refused to publish anything on this most important story.

I hope you do too.

The N&O is a McClatchy Company newspaper.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

An Oscar prediction that tells us a lot

I predict that during tonight’s Oscar show, more “artists” will speak in support of the Bush and America bashing teacher, Jay Bennish, than in support of the Danish cartoonists or the 12 European writers, artists and politicians who signed the manifesto, Together facing the new totalitarianism.

Now, you’re all saying, “Gee, John, what a safe prediction.”

You’re right. And doesn’t that tell us a lot.

About that housing bubble.

The housing bubble?

I've been hearing about it all my life.

I remember the GIs just back from WW II who people said were foolishly using VA no money down mortgages to buy houses in Levittown that cost as much as $6,000.

Just wait. They'd all be foreclosed on in a few years when the housing bubble burst. Those poor vets.

And the people back then who bought oceanfront lots at Hilton Head for $5,000. You know what was going to happen to them.

In the early 80s, in the midst of the steepest recession since the Great Depression, we saw government backed mortgage rates go over 20% while home sales slowed dramatically. There were some price declines in certain markets.

Ah, the housing bubble had finally burst. The doomsters were happy. Oh, and remember they told us we'd never again see 30 year fixed-rate mortgages below 10%.

But the doomsters happiness was short lived. There was no housing bubble bursting then, anymore than there was a housing bubble burst after the Savings & Loan scandals of the late 80s.

On and on we could go.

Sure, be careful when you buy a house. There can be dips in the market. And if you buy in a neighborhood or area that's going bad economically or has a particularly high crime rate, you'll likely see your home's value drop.

But if you buy sensibly something you can afford; and live in the house for at least 5 years; you, like just about everyone else who's been doing that for the last 75 years, will do very well.

Housing is such a good investment that 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry and his wife own five of them; big ones, too.

And Kerry's vice-presidential running mate, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, and his wife own at least three houses; and they're big ones, too.

Now would guys like Kerry and Edwards, who develop economic policies and anti-programs for the rest of us, own all those big houses if they thought there was a housing bubble about to burst?

Of course not.

But would Democrats in office and MSM want us worried about a housing bubble so we might decide President Bush and the Republicans aren't doing a very good job?

I've got my answer. What's yours.

The Raleigh News & Observer mixes religion with its politics

The liberal trending left Raleigh News & Observer has a front page story today headlined:

A pulpit minus the politics

Pastor says it’s not the job of churches to legislate morality
Staff writer Yonet Shimron begins:
The Rev. Stephen Davey is an evangelical Christian (who) views the Bible as the inerrant word of God, (but who) does not believe the church should engage in political action. To the contrary, it should submit to government authority, he said.

That position -- held by the Triangle's largest Protestant church, and a conservative one at that -- is at odds with many national evangelical leaders, who have called on their congregations to press for political and social changes.
If you’re now saying to yourself, “I bet I know where this story’s going. The N&O gives Davey “rah-rah” treatment and talks about “the growing influence of religious conservatives,” you pretty much have it.

Here’s a little more from the 1000 plus word article after which I'll share some reactions:
Davey's conviction comes at a time when evangelical influence in the corridors of power has never been stronger, especially among conservative Republicans. Evangelical churches helped reelect President Bush in 2004.

They worked to pass heterosexual marriage amendments in more than a dozen states and urged the president to select two Supreme Court justices who oppose abortion. Evangelicals have the ear of Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove. They command growing numbers in the chambers of Congress.

And last month, the N.C. Republican Party asked churchgoers to share their membership directories to help the GOP with voter mobilization efforts.
In terms of political involvement, what’s the difference between liberal churches working to legalize gay marriage and evangelical churches opposing it? Or between liberal religious groups opposing then Judge Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination while conservative religious groups supported it?

And why does The N&O now think it’s front page news that a political party has asked churchgoers to share their membership lists?

For as long as I’ve lived in North Carolina, Democratic candidates have appeared at churches where they’ve been cheered and endorsed from the alter. On election day, many churches make church vehicles available to transport voters believed very likely to vote Democratic.

The N&O has never been concerned about that mixing of religion and politics. In fact, it enthusiastically endorses Democrats who engage in such activities.

The N&O seems concerned that Reverends Jerry Falwell and Pat Robinson are involved in Republican politics but doesn’t seem to have a similar concern that the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are heavily involved in its own party’s politics.

Have you ever read a story in The N&O about the "growing influence" of the religious left on the Democratic Party and what it means for America? How often does The N&O link "liberal" with "religious left?"

On its news and editorial pages, The N&O has been nothing but supportive of the political advocacy of two long-time leaders of North Carolina’s powerful religious left, the Reverends W. W. Finlator and Robert Seymour. In fact, it's often run their columns.

The N&O’s article, A pulpit minus the politics, reeks of double standard agenda journalism.

Readers deserve a fair and accurate newspaper minus The N&O’s politics.

(The N&O is a McClatchy Company newspaper.)